carry the can

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.
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

carry the can

take 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?
See also: can, carry

carry the ˈcan (for somebody/something)

(British English, informal) accept the responsibility or blame for something: The teachers who were criticized said that they would not carry the can for the faults in the school system. OPPOSITE: pass the buckThis may come from military slang. The person who carried the can was responsible for collecting a can containing beer for the whole group and bringing it back without spilling any.
See also: can, carry
References in periodicals archive ?
We carry the cans on our heads for several miles," she says, her blue eyes faded with exhaustion.
I'd carry the cans upstream, dump them in and sprint back to the guns, then sink the cans as they passed.
It was party time again on our last night and they were so polite and friendly I nearly offered to help them carry the cans to the chalet so they could set up for the night.