Crick in the neck

I’m suffering with one at the moment. And for (almost) everything, there’s a cartoon, in this case a Perk at Work strip by Jason Salas:

From OED3 (November 2010) on crick:

Sudden stiffness or immobility of the neck, back, or other part of the body, typically resulting from spasm of one or more muscles; an instance of this. [attested from the 15th century on]

The cartoon shows the characteristic immobility of someone with a serious crick: their neck is “frozen” in one position — in this case, hooked to one side. (In other cases, the neck is frozen in such a way that the sufferer appears to be looking upwards.)

A sampling from the OED‘s lengthy (but inconclusive) etymology:

Origin uncertain; probably imitative, expressing a clicking sound made by the neck as the spasm occurs; … Alternatively perhaps compare crick [‘device for lifting heavy weights from below, a jack’] or stitch [‘thrust, stab; a sharp sudden local pain, like that produced by the thrust of a pointed weapon; esp. (now only) an acute spasmodic pain in the intercostal muscles, called more fully a stitch in the side’]. Compare also crook [‘An instrument, weapon, or tool of hooked form’] … and also Scots cleek [‘a large hook or crook for catching hold of and pulling something’] …

On the strip, from Salas’s website for it:

Perk at Work is a comic strip about a cafe worker, Perk, and his interactions with his boss, his cook, and his regular customers.

The cafe is located on the ground floor of a downtown multi-story office building. Mr. Argyle owns the building and the cafe. Workers from the varied businesses in and around the building patronize the cafe when they need to grab a bite to eat, take a coffee break, or simply just want to step away from the desk and hang out.

So when you’re getting a little burnt out and the corners of your mouth need a lift, visit Perk at Work. He’ll get the job done!

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