- Finally Anton held her up by the scruff of her neck and she drew her limbs in, responding to some kitten memory of being carried that way by her mother.
- If you were lucky enough to see him perform on stage, you always had the feeling he might suddenly leap into the audience, grab you by the scruff of the neck and haul you up onstage to drink ouzo and dance with him.
- The orchestral introduction grips us by the scruff of the neck in the venom with which it makes hunting and stalking aurally incarnate.
late 18th century: alteration of dialect scuff, of obscure origin.
Entry from British & World English dictionary
early 16th century (in the sense 'scurf'): variant of scurf. The word came to mean 'worthless thing', whence the current sense (mid 19th century).