by the scruff of (one's)/its/the neck

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by the scruff of (one's)/its/the neck

By the back of the neck (of a person or animal). My mom was so mad that she grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and hauled me into my room to be grounded. I had to yank the cat out from under the floorboards by the scruff of its neck. The boss took John by the scruff of his neck and warned him never to do something so foolish again.
See also: neck, of, scruff
References in classic literature ?
But, when I had paid for about a dozen chickens that he had killed; and had dragged him, growling and kicking, by the scruff of his neck, out of a hundred and fourteen street fights; and had had a dead cat brought round for my inspection by an irate female, who called me a murderer; and had been summoned by the man next door but one for having a ferocious dog at large, that had kept him pinned up in his own tool-shed, afraid to venture his nose outside the door for over two hours on a cold night; and had learned that the gardener, unknown to myself, had won thirty shillings by backing him to kill rats against time, then I began to think that maybe they'd let him remain on earth for a bit longer, after all.
All turned in surprise toward this new speaker, to behold a very well-built young man urging a resisting captive toward them by the scruff of his neck.
The family sit in a row all day long, watching him, commenting upon his actions, telling each other anecdotes about him, recalling his virtues, and remembering with tears how one day they lost him for two whole hours, on which occasion he was brought home in a most brutal manner by the butcher-boy, who had been met carrying him by the scruff of his neck with one hand, while soundly cuffing his head with the other.
Then Mowgli's hand shot out like the head of a tree-snake, and gripped him by the scruff of his neck, and the branch shook with the jar as his weight fell back, almost wrenching Mowgli to the ground.
Dash it all, Evie, I can't haul him down to the local police station by the scruff of his neck.
James Wade was cursing a 7-7 draw against unbeaten Phil Taylor, who The Machine had by the scruff of his neck.
A MAN who grabbed a four-year-old boy by the scruff of his neck as he cried for his mother causing him to fall down a flight of stairs was spared jail yesterday.
Furious, he hauled him out of the bed, landed a right uppercut, threw him down the stairs, then picked him up by the scruff of his neck and threw him out the front door.
He was then led by the scruff of his neck through the estate until they reached Portland Street where Mr Stephenson escaped.