from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.
- noun Either of two small woodpeckers, Jynx torquilla of Eurasia and Africa or J. ruficollis of sub-Saharan Africa, having a sharply pointed bill and the ability to twist the neck almost all the way around.
- noun A person with torticollis.
from The Century Dictionary.
- noun A twisted or distorted neck; a deformity in which the neck is drawn to one side and rotated. See
- noun A spasmodic disease of sheep, in which the head is drawn to one side.
- noun A scansorial picarian bird of the genus Iynx (Junx, or Yunx), allied to the woodpeckers, and belonging to the same family or a closely related one: so called from the singular manner in which it can twist the neck, and so turn it awry.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.
- noun A twisted or distorted neck; a deformity in which the neck is drawn to one side by a rigid contraction of one of the muscles of the neck; torticollis.
- noun a person suffering from torticollis.
- noun (Zoöl.) Any one of several species of Old World birds of the genus Jynx or subfamily
Jynginae, allied to the woodpeckers; especially, the common European species ( Jynx torguilla); -- so called from its habit of turning the neck around in different directions. Called also cuckoo's mate, snakebird, summer bird, tonguebird, and writheneck.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
- noun Either of two small
woodpeckers, Jynx torquilla and Jynx ruficollis, of the Old Worldthat can turn their heads almost 180 degrees.
- noun medicine, dated A twisted or distorted
neck; a deformityin which the neck is drawn to one side by a rigid contractionof one of the muscles; torticollis.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- noun an unnatural condition in which the head leans to one side because the neck muscles on that side are contracted
- noun Old World woodpecker with a peculiar habit of twisting the neck
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
The instrument was therefore held _across_ [traverso] the face of the player, whose head would be turned sideways, and hence comes Shylock's description of it as the 'wryneck'd' fife.
The adjective 'wryneck'd' refers, not to the instrument itself, which was straight, but to the player, whose head has to be slightly twisted round to get at the mouthpiece.
It shares this quality with only two other birds, I think: the wryneck, an aberrant woodpecker, and another night bird, the nightjar.
The arrangement of the toes is such as has been described in all birds with the exception of the wryneck.
Here only two of the toes are in front, the other two behind; and the reason for this is that the body of the wryneck is not inclined forward so much as that of other birds.
Birds that fly high in air are in all cases four-toed: that is, the greater part have three toes in front and one behind in place of a heel; some few have two in front and two behind, as the wryneck.
The wryneck was thought to build the nest, and hatch and feed the young of the cuckoo.
Pied and golden-backed woodpeckers, companies of nuthatches, and, here and there, a wryneck move about on the trunks and branches, looking into every cranny for insects.
Here one can sit and smoke and converse with some rare countryman passing by; here one can dream, forgetful of nightingales -- soothed, rather, by the mellifluous note of the oriole among the green branches overhead and the piping, agreeably remote, of some wryneck in the olives down yonder.
As love goddesses were "Fates", however, the wryneck may have been connected with the belief that the perpetrator of a murder, or