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

(redirected from by the scruff of their necks)

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
References in classic literature ?
If you had been a man, you would have made a good lawyer-- you would have taken juries by the scruff of their necks. Complete the case, my good lady--complete the case.
As Sorens has written, New Hampshire has a history based on "settlement patterns centered around small towns occupying rills, dales, and valleys" that gave rise to a "town meeting system [that] allowed citizens to keep their government officials close enough to 'grab them by the scruff of their necks' if they overstepped their power.
The nets continued to bulge and Simpson edged Blairgowrie ahead before Swifts took the tie by the scruff of their necks.