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2017 Word of the Year

Aunt Sally

noun, Chiefly British.
1.
a person who is a ready target for criticism or focus for disputation.
Origin of Aunt Sally
1860-1865
First recorded in 1860-65; so called from the figure used as a target at fairs
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for Aunt Sally
Historical Examples
  • The Captain's wife was "Aunt Sally" by courtesy to the entire settlement.

    Mary Ware's Promised Land Annie Fellows Johnston
  • And all the old furniture was sold too, and that most killed Aunt Sally.

  • Bands of music, Aunt Sally, and the usual side shows were there.

  • You forgit, Davy,” said Aunt Sally—“this is yo' will—you'll be dead.

    The Bishop of Cottontown John Trotwood Moore
  • Aunt Sally and Mary at first felt a great blank in their existence.

    Ned Garth W. H. G. Kingston
  • Aunt Sally and Mary did not, however, neglect their usual avocations.

    Ned Garth W. H. G. Kingston
  • Aunt Sally wondered so, to see me taking the air in anything but that car!

    The Dragon's Secret Augusta Huiell Seaman
  • And with a whisk of skirts, Aunt Sally vanished for a moment into the kitchen.

    The Dragon's Secret Augusta Huiell Seaman
  • He fell in the way of calling her "Aunt Sally" as others did, and this seemed to please her.

    The Mountain Girl Payne Erskine
  • So, run to Aunt Sally, dear, and ask if she can be spared from her nursing a few hours.

    Jessica, the Heiress

    Evelyn Raymond
British Dictionary definitions for Aunt Sally

Aunt Sally

/ˈsælɪ/
noun (Brit) (pl) -lies
1.
a figure of an old woman's head, typically with a clay pipe, used in fairgrounds and fêtes as a target for balls or other objects
2.
any person who is a target for insults or criticism
3.
something set up as a target for disagreement or attack
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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