rubberneck

The term rubberneck describes what you do when you can't help staring at something. People tend to rubberneck when they're passing a car accident on the highway.

You might rubberneck at a waiter who drops a huge tray full of glasses. Tourists are sometimes accused of stopping to rubberneck at unfamiliar sights as well. Rubberneck was first used in 1897, from the idea that nosy or curious people turn their heads for a closer look as if their necks are made of rubber.

Definitions of rubberneck
  1. noun
    a tourist who is visiting sights of interest
    synonyms: excursionist, sightseer, tripper
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    type of:
    holidaymaker, tourer, tourist
    someone who travels for pleasure
  2. noun
    a person who stares inquisitively
    synonyms: rubbernecker
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    type of:
    looker, spectator, viewer, watcher, witness
    a close observer; someone who looks at something (such as an exhibition of some kind)
  3. verb
    strain to watch; stare curiously
    “The cars slowed down and the drivers rubbernecked after the accident”
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    type of:
    watch
    look attentively
Word Family