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Neck of the woods

  • Neck of the woods is an idiom that is primarily used in the United States. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, chin up, on the ball, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the idiom neck of the woods, from where this expression is derived, and some examples of its use in sentences.


     

    Neck of the woods is a phrase that means the area where someone lives or the area where someone grew up. The word neck, in this case, refers to a narrow area of land, woods, or pasture and is an American term dating from the 1700s. Today, the phrase neck of the woods is an idiom that refers to the area where someone lives or where someone grew up, whether it is a city, town, geographic area, neighborhood or culture. The plural form of neck of the woods is necks of the woods.

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    Examples

    As circumstances would have it, I was recently knocking about Valley Center doing some research on a sports camp that was being held up in that neck of the woods. (The Times-Advocate)

    Things might warm up in June, but it’s traditionally the rainy season in this neck of the woods. (Flathead Beacon)

    In a typical summer season, we experience about 20 days of 90 degrees in this neck of the woods. (The Republic)

    Over on the West Coast, Microsoft made an interesting announcement this week, that it’s striking up a “strategic alliance” with Providence St. Joseph Health, a $24 billion health system in its neck of the woods. (Business Insider)

    Glunt finds it important to help in the process since the pups came from “our neck of the woods.” (The Tallahassee Democrat)


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