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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
1640-1650
1640-50
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for whipping-boy

whipping boy

noun
1.
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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