scruff

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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

scruff(y)

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

scruff

verb
References in classic literature ?
When he had come alongside I grasped the scruff of his neck, and after a considerable struggle, in which I several times came near to over-turning the canoe, I managed to drag him aboard, where he shook himself vigorously and squatted down before me.
A man's hand reached over a canoe-side and dragged him in by the scruff of the neck, and, although he snarled and struggled to bite his rescuer, he was not so much enraged as was he torn by the wildest solicitude for Skipper.
When Cocky, balanced on one leg, the other leg in the air as the foot of it held the scruff of Michael's neck, leaned to Michael's ear and wheedled, Michael could only lay down silkily the bristly hair-waves of his neck, and with silly half-idiotic eyes of bliss agree to whatever was Cocky's will or whimsey so delivered.
If you had been a man, you would have made a good lawyer-- you would have taken juries by the scruff of their necks.
Fosh-bal-soj listened to their complaints and then with a sudden sweep of his right hand seized Bradley by the scruff of the neck and hurled him sprawling through the doorway upon the floor of the chamber.
The grand secret, in dealing with a woman, is to take her as you take a cat, by the scruff of the neck--"
If your lot makes you cry and be wretched, get rid of it and take another; strike out for yourself; don't listen to the shrieks of your relations, to their gibes or their entreaties; don't let your own microscopic set prescribe your goings-out and comings-in; don't be afraid of public opinion in the shape of the neighbour in the next house, when all the world is before you new and shining, and everything is possible, if you will only be energetic and independent and seize opportunity by the scruff of the neck.
Rushing in upon the brute he grasped it by the scruff of the neck, just as it attempted to dodge past him, and hurled it across the cavern after its fellow which already was slinking into the corridor, bent upon escape.
Dash it all, Evie, I can't haul him down to the local police station by the scruff of his neck.