Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


1. Extremely fast, often excessively or recklessly so. If he can maintain that breakneck pace, I think he's going to win the race! You don't have to drive at such a breakneck speed—it's OK if we're a few minutes late.
2. Very extreme or dangerous. I'm not surprised that the train derailed at that spot where the tracks make a breakneck turn.

move at breakneck speed

To move extremely fast, especially to an excessive or reckless degree. We don't have to move at breakneck speed just to get there on time. It's OK if we're a few minutes late. The cars were moving at breakneck speed, barely managing to make each turn without crashing.
See also: breakneck, move, speed
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

break one's back

Also, break one's neck. Make a great effort, work very hard. For example, I've been breaking my back over this problem for the past week, or Don't break your neck to get there; we'll wait for you. Both versions of this expression, polite equivalents of break one's ass, transfer the literal fracture of one's back or neck to figurative exertion. However, break one's neck has the secondary connotation of proceeding with reckless speed, a sense also conveyed by the term breakneck pace. Originally this idiom alluded to literally breaking one's neck by rushing heedlessly along, but it has been used figuratively for the past 300 years. Also see break the back of.
See also: back, break
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
SATURDAY Breakneck Comedy, Blue Lamp, Aberdeen Starts 8pm.
"So far in 2005, 13,599 businesses have failed - 1,423 (11.7 per cent) more than during the same period in 2004." Richard Lloyd, Managing Director of Experian's Business Information division, said: "Business insolvencies are increasing at breakneck speed and the importance of good credit management procedures has never been so business critical.
The US was the most popular breakneck break last year, with Britons taking advantage of the weak US dollar to make trips to destinations such as New York and Los Angeles.
No need to waste time explaining the intricacies of a very traditional thriller which skillfully builds tension and gradually increases the pace to breakneck speed.
The swirling, swooping curves and sudden, jerky thrusts of the kaleidoscopic Moments Passing allowed a dozen dancers to explore, in a frenzy of often breakneck elegance, the kind of romance that is only possible in the lush and dreamy landscape of a choreographer's imagination.
Inmany ways it brings us more of the same, spoofing the worldo fT V, film and popular culture at breakneck speed but ,fortunately, superb mimic.
The dark and brooding drama continues at a breakneck pace and viewers may finally start getting the answers they've been waiting for.
Race on roads across America, ram cars and other trucks, negotiate tight burns and cliff faces at breakneck speed, all while trying to get cargo safely from A to B.
CRWDSPCR (computerspeak for Crowd Spacer or Crowds Pacer, the choreographer notes) features quirky coordinations at breakneck speed.
The 34-year-old put several clips on the YouTube site showing him driving at breakneck speeds and doing stunts.
New single 18 stood out and the song 9 with its breakneck pace had the crowd jumping up and down.
To Prada's regular clientele, a sea breeze usually means a cocktail that is downed in flashy bars and clubs - not breakneck antics on the ocean wave.
They have to turn up at accident scenes and work at breakneck speed - so they are already under extreme pressure.
With the venue crammed to the rafters, this was full-on rock as Yoshiko Fujiyama on guitar and vocals, Yoshiko Yamaguchi on bass and Sachiko Fujiyama on drums played their songs at breakneck speed.
TV and radio star Jono Coleman has been celebrating New Year Down Under in a breakneck style.