AskDefine | Define necklace

Dictionary Definition

necklace n : jewelry consisting of a cord or chain (often bearing gems) worn about the neck as an ornament (especially by women)

User Contributed Dictionary



  • (US)
    • /ˈnɛklɪs/
    • /"nEklIs/


  1. An article of jewelry/jewellery that is worn around the neck, most often made of a string of precious metal, pearls, gems, beads or shells, and sometimes having a pendant attached.
  2. Anything resembling a necklace in shape.
    a necklace of coral islands


figurative: anything resembling a necklace in shape
method of execution


  1. (South African) A method of informal execution in which a rubber tyre is filled with petrol, placed around the victim's neck, and set on fire.
    • May 29 2003: The Star:
      ''Frustrated residents tied the hands of two suspected criminals, put tyres around their necks and then set them alight. In a manifestation of growing disillusionment with the criminal justice system, residents of Bramfischerville, west of Johannesburg, on Tuesday abducted and necklaced two suspected burglars.
    • 2002 Buthelezi: A Biography by Ben Temkin
      Inkatha members have been hacked to death and necklaced, and their houses have been destroyed
    • 2000 Beyond Our Wildest Dreams: The United Democratic Front and the Transformation of South Africa by Ineke Van Kessel
      The first instance of necklacing occurred in March 1985 in the Eastern Cape township of KwaNobuhle.


necklace (no or )
  1. (South African) Describing a method of murder.
    • 4 August, 2004 Headline Pretoria News: Necklacing: 7 held.
      Seven people have been arrested in connection with Saturday's "necklace" murder of three men in the Tjokville informal settlement at Jeffrey's Bay.
    • 2000 Beyond Our Wildest Dreams: The United Democratic Front and the Transformation of South Africa by Ineke Van Kessel
      Several of the alledged witches in Apel and GaNkaone were also subjected to a necklace execution
    • 2004 A Human Being Died That Night: A South African Woman Confronts the Legacy of Apartheid by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela
      In the fluidly unfolding events of a necklace murder, was there time and space to stop the killing?''

Derived terms

Extensive Definition

A necklace is an article of jewellery; which is worn around the neck. Necklaces are frequently formed from a metal chain; often attached to a locket or pendant. Necklaces can also be manufactured with cloth, and they sometimes contain rocks (particularly gems), wood, and/or shells.
Many Christians wear a cross or crucifix necklace which can differ in shape, size, material and color. However, others who are not Christian may wear a cross merely out of decoration.


Necklaces have been worn throughout history, by both men and women, and have been used as marks of distinction in many cultures, including the ancient Hebrew culture. Necklaces, handsome and richly ornamented, were a principal part of the dress, both of men and women, among the ancient Egyptians; and some idea of the number of jewels they wore (remarks Sir G. Wilkinson) may be formed from those borrowed by the Israelites at the time of the Exodus, and by the paintings of Thebes. They consisted of gold or of beads, of various qualities and shapes, disposed according to fancy and enriched with jewels.
Necklaces of gold thickly set with gems were worn by the Greeks and Romans of both sexes. There was a famous necklace of the most costly precious stones upon the statue of Vesta in Rome, to whose vengeance Zosimus attributes the tragic end of Serena, Stilicho's widow, who had despoiled her of it. By the command of Honorius she was strangled.
The necklace taken from the neck of the Hindoo King Jaipal, captured by Mahmud (A.D. 1001) was composed of large pearls, rubies, etc., and was valued at two hundred thousand dinars, or a good deal more than a hundred thousand pounds.
Homer mentions a necklace curiously wrought of gold interwined with amber, which Eurymachus presented to Penelope.

Types of necklaces

Bib Necklace A bib necklace is multiple strands of stepped pearls.
Choker A choker is 35 cm to 40 cm (14" to 16") long and sits on the base of the neck.
Dog Collar A dog collar necklace consists of multiple strands of pearls that lay close to the neck.
Graduated Necklace A graduated necklace consists of a single strand of pearls that has a large pearl in the middle, with the pearls gradually becoming smaller toward the clasp.
Matinee Necklace A matinee necklace is 55 cm to 60 cm (22" to 24") long and sits at the top of cleavage.
Opera Necklace An opera necklace is 75 cm to 90 cm (30" to 36") long and sits at the breastbone.
Princess Necklace A princess necklace is 45 cm to 50 cm (18" to 20") long. It is between choker and matinee length.
Sautoir or Rope Necklace A sautoir or rope necklace is any necklace longer than opera length.
Uniform Necklace A uniform necklace consists of pearls that appear to be all the same size, although normally there is a slight difference towards the ends so they appear to be in proportion.

See also

necklace in Danish: Halskæde
necklace in German: Halskette
necklace in Spanish: Collar
necklace in French: Collier
necklace in Hebrew: שרשרת (תכשיט)
necklace in Kanuri: 목걸이
necklace in Dutch: Halsketting
necklace in Dutch Low Saxon: Ketten
necklace in Japanese: ネックレス
necklace in Polish: Naszyjnik
necklace in Portuguese: Colar
necklace in Swedish: Halsband
necklace in Ukrainian: Намисто
necklace in Chinese: 项链
necklace in Serbian: Огрлица

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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