Cat o' nine tails

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Cat´ o' nine´ tails`

n.1.a whip used as an instrument of punishment consisting of nine pieces of knotted line or cord fastened to a handle; - formerly used to flog offenders on the bare back; - called also the cat. It was used in the British Navy to maintain discipline on board sailing ships.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by G. & C. Merriam Co.
References in periodicals archive ?
Cat O' Nine Tails appreciated the return to easier company with a clear-cut success at Musselburgh on Monday and is turned out quickly again under a mandatory 6lb penalty before the handicapper can mete out heavier punishment.
This involved the culprit being whipped on the back, usually with a cat o' nine tails - awhip with nine thongs or tails.
The main hall will be resplendent with swashbuckling Buccaneers, a skeletal 10ft pirate captain, and DJ Nicola W will be getting out her cat o' nine tails to whip up the hits in Davy Jones' Locker.