American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A whip consisting of nine knotted cords fastened to a handle, used in flogging.
- n. A similarly constructed leather nine-tail whip, as used in British penal colonies and certain armies
- n. a whip with nine knotted cords
- From cat + of + nine + tail, attested 1695. (Wiktionary)
- So called because it leaves marks like the scratches of a cat. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“That is at football, by the way, not just the nation's game but its sackcloth and ashes, its cat-o'-nine-tails, its hemlock on the bedside table.”
“In medieval prisons, inmates were punished with a device called a "cat-o'-nine-tails" -- a whip made of nine knotted thongs of cord designed to lacerate the skin and cause intense pain.”
“In the hour President Obama spent at the podium in the East Room this week holding a news conference on the Gulf oil spill, he practiced every form of self-flagellation short of bringing out a cat-o'-nine-tails.”
“The trunk was built like a cat-o'-nine-tails; it held a bayoneted rifle.”
“If Apple represents the shiny, happy future of the tech industry, it also looks a lot like our cat-o'-nine-tails past.”
“This was 1987, north of the Arctic Circle, on the Kola Peninsula, where winter gales blew off the Barents Sea, whipping the port like a cat-o'-nine-tails made of ice.”
“As a female student volunteer stood facing the blackboard, and 24 Columbians watched, a lecturer who identified himself only as Dov flogged her with whips, rubber hoses and a cat-o'-nine-tails.”
“Cat Pete (his name was not given him because he was silent and catlike in his grace, but because he had once been soundly whipped with a cat-o'-nine-tails) was very selective of his vicÂtims.”
“Why should he risk bruising his precious knuckles when he had a weapon as caustic as the contempt he brandished like a cat-o'-nine-tails?”
“The shadowy chamber was an Inquisitor's dream, appointed with a handsome torture rack, a barbed cat-o'-nine-tails, three pairs of rusty manacles bolted to the wall, and several other ominous meldings of metal and wood.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘cat-o'-nine-tails’.
Terms with multiple hyphens, such as rent-a-crowd. Not intended to be a see-how-many-words-one-can-string-together-with-hyphens-used-adjectively sort of list.
These kind of stun me whenever I see them. Language is just so cool.
tam-o'-shanter, jack-o'-lantern, man-o'-war, will-o'-the-wisp, light-o'-love, cat-o'-nine-tails, hop-o'-my-thumb, tom o' bedlam, bess o' bedlam, john o' groats, five o'clock shadow, o'dark thirty and 25 more...
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