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whipping boy

a person who is made to bear the blame for another's mistake; scapegoat.
(formerly) a boy educated along with and taking punishment in place of a young prince or nobleman.
Origin of whipping boy
1640-50 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for whipping boy
Historical Examples
  • In others he denounces it as rank Judaism, the Jew having at that time become for him the whipping boy for all modern humanity.

    The Perfect Wagnerite George Bernard Shaw
British Dictionary definitions for whipping boy

whipping boy

a person of little importance who is blamed for the errors, incompetence, etc, of others, esp his superiors; scapegoat
Word Origin
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 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Idioms and Phrases with whipping boy

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® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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