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Meaning of cat-o'-nine-tails

cat-o'-nine-tails

Pronunciation: (kat"u-nīn'tālz"), [key]
— pl. -tails.
  1. a whip, usually having nine knotted lines or cords fastened to a handle, used for flogging.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.