scapegoat
Pronunciation
  • (Canada, America) IPA: /ˈskeɪpˌɡoʊt/
  • (British) IPA: /ˈskeɪpˌɡəʊt/
Noun

scapegoat (plural scapegoats)

  1. In the Mosaic Day of Atonement ritual, a goat symbolically imbued with the sins of the people, and sent out alive into the wilderness while another was sacrificed.
    • 1646, Sir Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica, Book II, ch 5
      alluding herein unto the heart of man and the precious bloud of our Saviour, who was typified by the Goat that was slain, and the scape-Goat in the Wilderness
  2. Someone punished for the error or errors of someone else.
    He is making me a scapegoat.
    • 1834, Thomas Babington Macaulay, "William Pitt, Earl of Chatham"
      The new Secretary of State had been long sick of the perfidy and levity of the First Lord of the Treasury, and began to fear that he might be made a scapegoat to save the old intriguer who, imbecile as he seemed, never wanted dexterity where danger was to be avoided.
Synonyms Translations Translations Verb

scapegoat (scapegoats, present participle scapegoating; past and past participle scapegoated)

  1. (transitive) To punish someone for the error or errors of someone else; to make a scapegoat of.
    • 1975, Richard M. Harris, Adam Kendon, Mary Ritchie Key, Organization of Behavior in Face-to-face Interaction, p66
      They had been used for centuries to justify or rationalize the behavior of that status and conversely to scapegoat and blame some other category of people.
  2. (transitive) To blame something for the problems of a given society without evidence to back up the claim.
Translations Related terms


This text is extracted from the Wiktionary and it is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license | Terms and conditions | Privacy policy 0.007
Offline English dictionary