a sheep with black fleece.
a person who causes shame or embarrassment because of deviation from an accepted standard of behavior.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use black sheep in a sentence
Over the past 12 months we have identified a few black sheep.
In Mary, he sees a sinner like himself—a friend of Christians, but a black sheep.What Mary Thought: ‘The Testament of Mary’ by Colm Tóibín | Benjamin Lytal | November 18, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
Despite being a Hollywood black sheep, Mel Gibson found a reliable confidant in Trawick and the two became very close.Britney Spears and Jason Trawick: He’s Her Fiancé, Manager, and Conservator | Ramin Setoodeh | September 11, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
Clinton jokes that Barbara Bush refers to him as her “black-sheep son.”
But Bowie rarely spoke about the black sheep in his family, who spent most of his adult life in a mental institution.
Harry took his bed into the spare-room, and black sheep lay down to die.
And with these, and the society of Jane on board-wages, black sheep was left alone for a month.
Uncle Harry took him for walks and consoled him with rough tenderness, never calling him black sheep.
For hours the gray man would sit on a tombstone, while black sheep read epitaphs, and then with a sigh would stump home again.
"He 's getting well," thought black sheep, who knew the song through all its seventeen verses.
British Dictionary definitions for black sheep
a person who is regarded as a disgrace or failure by his family or peer group
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
Cultural definitions for black sheep
A person who is considered a disgrace to a particular group, usually a family: “Uncle Jack, who was imprisoned for forgery, is the black sheep of the family.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Other Idioms and Phrases with 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.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.