The nape is the back of the neck. In technical anatomical/medical terminology, the nape is also called the nucha (from the Medieval Latin rendering of the Arabic نُخَاع "spinal marrow"). The corresponding adjective is nuchal, as in the term nuchal rigidity.
In many mammals, the nape is the site of the scruff, a loose, non-sensitive area of skin by which the mother can carry her young, holding the scruff between her teeth. In domestic cats, the scruff is used when a mother cat transfers her kittens, either by carrying them away from danger or to a new nest or den site (carrying each kitten by gripping its scruff in her teeth), and in mating, when the male cat (tom) grips the female cat's scruff with his teeth to help keep her relatively immobile. See Pinch-induced behavioral inhibition.
In traditional Japanese culture, the nape (項, unaji) was one of the few areas of the body (other than face and hands) left uncovered by women's attire. The nape of a woman's neck held a strong attraction for many Japanese men (see Geisha makeup).
In Egyptian and Lebanese culture, slapping the nape is considered a gesture of utter humiliation.