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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

a whipping boy

If someone is a whipping boy, people blame them when things go wrong. `There won't be a white paper,' one minister said yesterday. `It wouldn't solve anything. It would just make the prime minister a whipping boy for both the left and right.' This is the story of how America's favorite whipping boy became her favorite son. Note: A whipping boy was a boy who was educated with a prince and was punished for the prince's mistakes because tutors were not allowed to hit the prince.
See also: boy, whipping
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

a ˈwhipping boy

a person who is blamed or punished for the mistakes of another person: The directors are clearly responsible for what happened, but they’re sure to find a whipping boy lower down the company.It was your fault, and I am not going to be your whipping boy.In the past when a royal prince made a mistake in his lessons, another boy was whipped (= punished) for his mistakes.
See also: boy, whipping
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

whipping boy, a

A scapegoat; one who receives the blame and/or punishment for another’s mistakes or misdeeds. The term comes from the early practice of keeping a boy to be whipped in place of a prince who was to be punished. Sir William Petrie used the term figuratively in Ancient Egypt (1914): “With some writers . . . Manetho is the whipping-boy, who must always be flogged when anything is not understood.”
See also: whipping
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
In its inception, however, a 'whipping boy' was a literal person.
In other words, as Barnes puts it, Americans have needed both to have and to imagine being a "whipping boy" in order to create the kind of affective bonds that can counter an otherwise "existential estrangement" and to "substantiate a notion of American character itself as exceptionally empathetic" (174, 3).
After being thrashed themselves by hot favourites Australia in their first match, the Kiwis had few problems overcoming the Group A whipping boys.
Working class Barney Fitzpatrick is renowned as one of Ireland's last "whipping boys" who took the punishment in bygone days for badly behaving gentry.
That is why the Northern Ireland manager will settle for a single-goal victory against traditional whipping boys San Marino at Windsor Park tonight.
Successive defeats to struggling Manchester City and whipping boys Watford have left Boro treading water just above the relegation zone.
PAUL JEWELL may be allowed to admit WIGAN are favourites for relegation - but woe betide anyone else who predicts his newly-promoted side will be whipping boys this year.
But Richard Slade, chairman of the North East region of the British Institute of Innkeeping and licensee at Magnesia Bank in North Shields, said: "Pubs are becoming the whipping boys on violent crime.
Chairman Roger Williams has warned rookie manager Shaun Lee that he must act quickly to prevent Bilston Town becoming the Western Division 'whipping boys.'
GLASGOW ROCKS coach Sterling Davis has warned his side not to let complacency creep in against BBL whipping boys Essex Pirates tonight.
AFTER just one Test - against whipping boys Bangladesh - Steven Finn is being hailed as the new Glenn McGrath.
The Italians have picked up six of their eight points in matches against Israeli whipping boys Maccabi Haifa but they still have the edge over third-placed Bayern Munich, who are four points worse off.
They allowed the French side into the Championship this year and it won't look good if they end up being the whipping boys.
They will be looked upon as the whipping boys in the top league.
"QPR have been one of the whipping boys for the promotion-chasing sides this season, but we could not do it.