Definition of cat-o’-nine-tails noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

cat-o’-nine-tails

 noun
noun
BrE BrE//ˌkæt ə ˈnaɪn teɪlz//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˌkæt ə ˈnaɪn teɪlz//
 
[singular]
 
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a whip made of nine strings with knots in them, that was used to punish prisoners in the past He was flogged with a cat-o’-nine tails.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: cat-o’-nine-tails