bum rap

[ buhm-rap ]
See synonyms for bum rap on Thesaurus.com
  1. an unjust accusation, verdict, or punishment: He was sent to prison on a bum rap.

  2. an adverse opinion or judgment considered undeserved or unjust: The review was a bum rap, but I liked the play.

Origin of bum rap

First recorded in 1910–15; bum1 (in the sense “disappointing, unpleasant”) + rap1 (in the sense “blame, punishment, criminal charge”)
  • Also bad rap [bad-rap] /ˈbæd ˈræp/ .

Words Nearby bum rap

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

British Dictionary definitions for bum rap

bum rap

nounUS slang
  1. a trumped-up or false charge

  2. an unjust punishment

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with bum rap

bum rap

A false accusation or conviction; also, unfair criticism or action. For example, He claimed he was in prison on a bum rap, or The theater critics gave her last play a bum rap. This expression originated in the 1920s as underworld slang, and by the mid-1900s it was also used figuratively for other kinds of injustice.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.