take by the scruff

take by the scruff  {v. phr.}
1. To assert authority over a person.
Tim's mother took him by the scruff and told him to get cleaned up.
2. To punish a person.
The boss took us by the scruff when he found us chatting idly by the coffee machine.
3. To assume firm control over a job or a situation that has been causing some difficulty.
Someone had better take the post office by the scruff; there are too many customer complaints pouring in.

Categories: assertion verb