cat o nine tails


noun, plural cat-o'-nine-tails.
a whip, usually having nine knotted lines or cords fastened to a handle, used for flogging.

1685–95; so called in allusion to a cat's scratches Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
n , pl -tails
Often shortened to: cat a rope whip consisting of nine knotted thongs, used formerly to flog prisoners

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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