No need ta be so formal. Yer makin’ my neck itchy. Talk normal, got it? (Source)

I have no idea what does "Yer makin’ my neck itchy." mean. I guess the phrase has some figurative meaning.

  • ta = to; Yer = you are; makin' = making. You are causing me to feel some discomfort (itchiness). The spelling is an attempt to present the speaker's pronunciation. "talk normal" is substandard for "speak normally". Oct 21, 2017 at 11:46
  • Yeah. That said, I don't know why hearing "formal" talk would make one's neck itch.
    – Mr Lister
    Oct 21, 2017 at 15:32

3 Answers 3


Possible reason: Until about 100 years ago, well-dressed men wore starched collars, at least in formal situations. These were very stiff and scratchy. Even now, when I'm wearing a tie with my ordinary modern business shirt, my neck gets itchy. (I don't usually wear a tie.)

  • 1
    +1 A starched collar was the first thing that came to mind when I read it. A related phrase is "starched shirt" - for example, from an editorial review of a Mark Twain book: "Sidestepping the starched-shirt diction of his peers, he created an idiom that resembled (but did not precisely duplicate) the wayward, slangy, ungrammatical music of American conversation."
    – ColleenV
    Oct 24, 2017 at 12:25

I think it simply means, "You're making me feel uncomfortable."

It's not an established idiom, though; I'd guess it's a creative expression coined by the author. I could only find two instances of it on the Internet (the original story, and this ELL question). Moreover, when I tried to use a more formal form ("you're making my neck itchy"), Google said:

No results found for "you're making my neck itchy".


He's just saying it very informally, but what he's trying to convey is that he feels uncomfortable because the person whom he is speaking to is speaking formally.

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