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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: by, 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: by, neck, of, scruff


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


References in periodicals archive ?
Scruffs says setting the standard since 2003, it designs workwear and safety footwear for a new generation of trade professionals and engineered with technical expertise to deliver outstanding comfort, durability and functionality, Scruffs workwear is made to work as hard as the customer.
WEARSIDE doggy day camp and grooming parlour Woofs n Scruffs has secured a PS14,000 loan via the Finance for Business North East Microloan Fund.
Based in the Hesledon Industrial Estate in Seaham, Woofs n Scruffs caters for all canine needs with a traditional dog grooming service and luxury day care amenities.
The line-up includes The Apple Scruffs, The Casuals, The Black Arrows, The Down & Outs and Shine.
After Carter announced the show's demise Sunday, he played ``Apple Scruffs,'' ``Heaven on a Sunday,'' ``The Long and Winding Road'' and ``We Can Work It Out.
as two scruffs retreat under plastic, behind corporate wheely bins
For lasting comfort through a hard day's work on site, SCRUFFS says its Switchback boot has it all, and is made for demanding jobs as it combines underfoot protection with hard wearing features.
Experts Ian and Irene from Scruffs - the dedicated kite shop in the Garw Valley - talked youngsters through the basics of building and flying a kite.
DAIL scruffs Luke Flanagan, Mick Wallace and Richard Boyd Barrett have been given a stay of execution after plans for a strict dress code for deputies have come unstuck.