take the rap

Idioms & Phrases

take the rap

Be punished or blamed for something, as in I don't want to take the rap for Mary, who forgot to mail the check in time, or Steve is such a nice guy that he's always taking the rap for his colleagues. This slangy idiom originally used rap in the sense of "a criminal charge," a usage still current. By the mid-1900s it was also used more broadly.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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