whipping boy

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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

whipping boy

Fig. someone who is punished for someone else's misdeeds. The president has turned out to be the whipping boy for his party.
See also: boy, whipping

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]
See also: boy, whipping