An erroneous conviction or sentence (1920s+ Underworld)
Any unjustified condemnation: Reagan said, ''Nancy's taken a bit of a bum rap on that buying White House china''(1980s+)
: he had been bum-rapped
: the Philadelphia Navy Yard has been bum-rapped
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D. Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers. Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with bum rap
A false accusation or conviction; also, unfair criticism or action. For example, He claimed he was in prison on a bum rap, or The theater critics gave her last play a bum rap. This expression originated in the 1920s as underworld slang, and by the mid-1900s it was also used figuratively for other kinds of injustice.