Mudcat Café message #3583111 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #110040   Message #3583111
Posted By: GUEST,Tim
10-Dec-13 - 06:59 PM
Thread Name: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Skin the Cat' and other family sayings
You don't skin a cat, you swing it. And it is not a feline animal. It is a cat o'nine tails, a horrible nine-tailed whip used to punish sailors and leave their backs bleeding. This was done in the open air, for below deck there would not have been room to swing the cat, and in any case the rest of the crew were required to witness the punishment.
This origin of the phrase has been questioned, but it is the only explanation that convinces.