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cat-o'-nine-tails

[kat-uh-nahyn-teylz] /ˌkæt əˈnaɪnˌteɪlz/
noun, plural cat-o'-nine-tails.
1.
a whip, usually having nine knotted lines or cords fastened to a handle, used for flogging.
Origin
1685-1695
1685-95; so called in allusion to a cat's scratches
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for cat-o'-nine-tails'

cat-o'-nine-tails

noun (pl) -tails
1.
a rope whip consisting of nine knotted thongs, used formerly to flog prisoners Often shortened to cat
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cat-o'-nine-tails'

cat-o'-nine-tails

n.

1690s, probably so called in reference to its "claws." It was a legal instrument of punishment in British Navy until 1881.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Word Value for cat

5
6
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