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The back of a person's or animal's neck.‘he grabbed him by the scruff of his neck’
- ‘Consider, in this light, ‘to neck someone out of the room’ which is supposed to mean, ‘taking somebody by the scruff of the neck and ejecting from the company.’’
- ‘This album grabs you by the scruff of the neck and demands your attention.’
- ‘As Alfonso Cuaron took Hogwarts by the scruff of the neck and transformed Prisoner of Azkaban into a film worthy of its medium and not just its source, so Mike Newell takes the series one step further.’
- ‘Bong Ra's ‘Archie Bunker Disciples’ takes The Prodigy's ‘Firestarter’ by the scruff of the neck and feeds it into several hundred distortion pedals.’
- ‘Plus, any band who produce We Care A Lot, a brutally fun hymn for the apathy generation is bound to grab any world-weary fifteen year old by the scruff of the neck.’
- ‘SAC has never taken the Fringe by the scruff of its neck and said, ‘How can we use it for our own purposes?’’
- ‘He grabbed them by the scruff of the neck and tossed them out.’
- ‘When he gets a properly written scene he seizes it by the scruff of the neck and shakes the juices out of it with Doberman ferocity.’
- ‘For most of the journey I pretended to sleep, feeling the accusatory stares of passers-by, ready to grab me by the scruff of the neck and spontaneously demand a ticket inspection.’
- ‘Yet they possess a rare spirit which allows them to grasp life by the scruff of its neck and cope with whatever it throws in the face.’
- ‘But there was little sense of any acts, or group of acts, collectively seizing 2004 by the scruff of its neck - as the brilliant Garry Mulholland points out in this issue in our definitive review of 2004.’
- ‘The latter song further displayed M.E's new found audience sympathy by dragging a bouncer from the mosh pit by the scruff of his neck for starting on a fan who'd been getting a bit carried away.’
- ‘This is the type of album that grabs you by the scruff of the neck, shakes you about a lot, and never once lets up on the fury which drives it.’
- ‘It never really holds you by the scruff of the neck and hurls you into its vortex, for there is no vortex to this periodic gangster drama.’
- ‘But then again, some of these same people will probably mention Sviatoslav Richter's famous recording, a benchmark for the Mussorgsky for years - and that certainly reaches out and grabs you by the scruff of the neck.’
Grasp (an animal) by the scruff of its neck.
- ‘Do you have any idea what it feels like to be seized, scruffed, taken like an animal when you're in heat and feeling like one anyhow?’
Late 18th century: alteration of dialect scuff, of obscure origin.
A person with a dirty or untidy appearance.
Early 16th century (in the sense ‘scurf’): variant of scurf. The word came to mean ‘worthless thing’, whence the current sense (mid 19th century).
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