a whipping boy

whipping boy

A person or thing that is blamed for problems, often those caused by someone or something else. Bobby got tired of being the whipping boy for the mischief caused by his older brothers. Video games have become the whipping boy for the violent behavior displayed by today's youth.
See also: boy, whipping

a whipping boy

If someone is a whipping boy, people blame them when things go wrong. `There won't be a white paper,' one minister said yesterday. `It wouldn't solve anything. It would just make the prime minister a whipping boy for both the left and right.' This is the story of how America's favorite whipping boy became her favorite son. Note: A whipping boy was a boy who was educated with a prince and was punished for the prince's mistakes because tutors were not allowed to hit the prince.
See also: boy, whipping

a ˈwhipping boy

a person who is blamed or punished for the mistakes of another person: The directors are clearly responsible for what happened, but they’re sure to find a whipping boy lower down the company.It was your fault, and I am not going to be your whipping boy.In the past when a royal prince made a mistake in his lessons, another boy was whipped (= punished) for his mistakes.
See also: boy, whipping
References in periodicals archive ?
Then the roiling '60s arrived and American suburbia - its uniformity, its uneventfulness - became a whipping boy for culture czars.