whipping boy

whipping boy

noun
1.
a person who is made to bear the blame for another's mistake; scapegoat.
2.
(formerly) a boy educated along with and taking punishment in place of a young prince or nobleman.

Origin:
1640–50

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To Whipping Boy
Collins
World English Dictionary
whipping boy
 
n
a person of little importance who is blamed for the errors, incompetence, etc, of others, esp his superiors; scapegoat
 
[C17: originally referring to a boy who was educated with a prince and who received punishment for any faults committed by the prince]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

whipping boy

A scapegoat, as in This department's always been the whipping boy when things don't go well. This expression alludes to the former practice of keeping a boy to be whipped in place of a prince who was to be punished. [Early 1900s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature
FAVORITES
RECENT

;