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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

by the scruff of somebody’s/the ˈneck

(hold somebody or an animal) by the back of the neck: The barman took her by the scruff of the neck and threw her out.
See also: neck, of, scruff


mod. sloppy; unkempt. Why don’t you clean up this scruff car? It’s—like—grody!


References in classic literature ?
To hear you talk," said Irais, "no one would ever imagine that you dream away your days in a garden with a book, and that you never in your life seized anything by the scruff of its neck.
RORY BEST insists Ireland must take the France game by the scruff of the neck on Sunday to avoid an All Blacks showdown.
Leftfoot with Mr Scruff - Hare and Hounds, tonight, PS15 Hare and Hounds favourite Mr Scruff will return to Kings Heath as part of the Leftfoot 15 series.
com), one of the top-five global independent public relations firms, today announced that it has been named public relations agency of record for Scruff (www.
Scruff is game for anything and was ready to power across the waves at Abersoch beach.
A lifetime spent as a plumber and landlord in the seaside town earned Terry - or Scruff as he was affectionately known by family and friends - a reputation as an honest and generous man.
Chaos, Scruff, Trinity and Brindle have all been vainly searching for a loving home for more than a year.
Mr Scruff, Sat, Clough Williams Ellis Stage Mr Scruff has been going for years.
45pm ONE Premier League player has really taken Euro 2012 by the scruff of the neck - and maybe we should have known all along that it would be 'mad' Mario Balotelli.
Animals for homes: Scruff and Kell (414 & 415) are two border terriers.
That evening I was still trying to make sense of Carberry's performance on Martin Scruff at Punchestown.
At Abercarn, they took the game by the scruff of the neck from the start and scored tries through Justin Banwell, Kieron Jones, Nathan Walters, Adrian Williams and Leigh Laurie (2), plus four conversions from Garth Walters, on their way to a 38-0 win They followed that up with an even more convincing performance at Pontypool United where they finished as 46-5 winners.
The Saints, seen here with a new strip from sponsors Scruff Pet Supplies of Heron Way Shopping Centre in Nuneaton, entertained Bedworth Rangers and pulled off a confidence boosting 2-1 success in which Thomas Brinton and Liam Ambrosewere the lads on target to book a semi-final tie against Nuneaton Boys Wanderers this weekend.
Scruff, a black Greyfriars Bobby lookalike, vanished from her home at Braefoot Crescent, Paisley, last November.
Star of Last of the Summer Wine, Peter Sallis said the long-running show should live on, despite the death this week of actor Bill Owen, who played loveable scruff Compo.