A rope whip with nine knotted cords, formerly used (especially at sea) to flog offenders.
whip, horsewhip, bullwhip, switch, scourge, flagellum, cat-o'-nine-tails, cat, thong, flail, strap, birch, cane
- ‘Flogging with the cat-o'-nine-tails and hanging were the major punishments.’
- ‘Selina ignored him, but I thought I could detect a hint of longing in the way she fingered the whip looped at her belt (a cat-o'-nine-tails).’
- ‘Jesus is beaten with canes, then with an early version of a cat-o'-nine-tails.’
- ‘Volney claimed that prisons officials were asking judges not to impose the cat-o'-nine-tails since they could not find them.’
- ‘A moment later, another of the invaders lashed him with a peculiar weapon that looked something like a cat-o'-nine-tails.’
Late 17th century alteration of cat of nine tails, possibly with reference to it ‘scratching’ a person's back.
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