black sheep

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Related to black sheep: Black Sheep of the Family

black sheep

The least reputable member of a group; a disgrace. For example, Uncle Fritz was the black sheep of the family; we always thought he emigrated to Argentina to avoid jail . This metaphor is based on the idea that black sheep were less valuable than white ones because it was more difficult to dye their wool different colors. Also, in the 16th century, their color was considered the devil's mark. By the 18th century the term was widely used as it is today, for the odd member of a group.
See also: black, sheep

the black sheep


the black sheep of the family

COMMON If you describe someone as the black sheep or the black sheep of the family, you mean that the other people in their family disapprove of them and consider their behaviour to be bad. `I was always the black sheep,' he says. `Everyone else stayed in New Jersey but I was the one to go.' My uncle was the black sheep of the family and we were never encouraged to talk about him. Note: Black sheep are less valuable than white sheep since their wool cannot be dyed. In addition, people used to associate the colour black with evil.
See also: black, sheep

black sheep

A disreputable or unloved family member. Since the majority of domestic sheep have white fleece, a black one would be different from the rest of the flock. And because the word “black” has a historically strong negative connotation, one of that color would be unwanted (in real life, sheep farmers don't like them because black fleece, which can't be dyed, is less commercially valuable). In the age of politically correct speech, the phrase is now infrequently used, and that's not because family members now get along in greater harmony than they once did.
See also: black, sheep
References in periodicals archive ?
One group from San Diego booked an entire train car and Black Sheep attendees piled in from there and points north.
A few years later, when Dunbar was discussing another potential project with University Press, his father's letters came up, and the idea for Before They Were the Black Sheep began to take shape.
In a world of ever-more bland, massproduced beer and factory production gauges, Black Sheep blows like a blast of freshly malted air.
Manager Stuart Chamberlain could not explain why people singing or listening to Baa Baa Black Sheep would be insulted.
Black Sheep Miami produced an online commercial that showcases its creativeness and abilities.
Most pundits fancy Swaine to add the Black Sheep to their arrowselfdrive Sykes Cup and allroundercricket T20 titles, but Sadler knows they will have to work hard.
It also taps into the notion that every last one of us has a family black sheep or two (or in this case, a rainbow-colored sheep), or a bad in-law first meet.
The Red Lion is a two-roomed country pub with huge beams, a large fireplace, high-backed settles and an anomalous stone counter where, on offer alongside the indigenous Black Sheep and Riggwelter Ales, are stamps, postcards, 35mm film, Elastoplast and every book ever published on the locality.
Goosey Goosey Gander is about the spread of VD, while Georgie Porgie is an early obesity warning and Baa Baa Black Sheep is about taxation.
50am DISPASSIONATE investment banker Michael Douglas is given a curious birthday present by his black sheep brother Sean Penn - a subscription to a clandestine company promising an inter- active game which will be a life-changing experience.
Aggressive Inline features a complete soundtrack of the best songs to blade to, such as Hoobastank, Saliva, The Vandals, Black Sheep and Eric B & Rakim.
There are four ales permanently on offer - Tetley's Bitter, Timothy Taylor's Landlord, Greene King IPA and Black Sheep Ale from the Black Sheep Brewery.
DEMOCRACY AT HOME: Remember the good old days, when family rifts were mostly about money, heirlooms, black sheep and in-laws?
After years of begging, scavenging and buying second-hand equipment, the managing director of Black Sheep Brewery has taken delivery of a spanking new mash tun and hopback - weighing almost eight tonnes between them - hoisted last week through a hole in the roof.
From Paul Theakston's Black Sheep Brewery, Yorkshire, this is a crafted, traditional masterpiece from one of England's most famous brewing families.