carry the can(redirected from carries the can)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.
carry the can
To take the blame for something, often another's mistakes or misdeeds. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. 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.
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]
carry the canBRITISH
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.
carry the cantake responsibility for a mistake or misdeed. British informal
The origin of this expression and the nature of the can involved are both uncertain, though the idiom appears to have started life as early 20th-century naval or military slang.
1998 Times Was this the same Mr Cook who danced on the Tories' graves for not carrying the can for errors of their officials?