by the nape of the neck

by the nape 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 nape 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 nape of its neck. The boss took John by the nape of his neck and warned him never to do something so foolish again.
See also: nape, neck, of

by the nape of the neck

by the back of the neck. (Mostly said in threats.) He grabbed me by the nape of the neck and told me not to turn around if I valued my life. I stood very still. If you do that again, I'll pick you up by the nape of the neck and throw you out the door.
See also: nape, neck, of
References in classic literature ?
Porthos bent over the stair of the mole, and seized by the nape of the neck one of the officers of the royal army who was waiting to embark till all his people should be in the boat.
On the fourth day, lame and sore, scarcely able to see, so closed were his eyes, he was haled from his bunk by the nape of the neck and set to his duty.
He got his teeth into me once, and then I got him by the nape of the neck.
So it was, helpless, suspended in the air by the nape of the neck, that he bawled and squalled and choked and coughed till the black, disgusted, flung him down roughly in the canoe's bottom.
Sat down then, and winked at the lean lady, when I had the high satisfaction of finding him lift me up by the nape of the neck, and fling me over into the pit.