carry the can

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carry the can

To take the blame for something, often another's mistakes or misdeeds. My partner had been cooking the books for years, but because I was the CEO, I had to carry the can for our company's collapse. I'm the coach, and I called a bad play, so I deserve to carry the can for this loss.
See also: can, carry

carry the can

Take responsibility or accept blame, as in Joan felt she was always carrying the can for her boss's errors. [Slang; second half of 1900s]
See also: can, carry

carry the can

BRITISH
COMMON If you carry the can, you are blamed for something bad that has happened even though you are not the only person responsible for it. It annoys me that I was the only one who carried the can for that defeat. Members of the Government clearly decided to let Lowe carry the can. Note: This was originally a military expression referring to the man chosen to fetch a container of beer for a group of soldiers.
See also: can, carry