bum rap

[ buhm-rap ]
/ ˈbʌm ˈræp /

noun Slang.

an unjust accusation, verdict, or punishment: He was sent to prison on a bum rap.
an adverse opinion or judgment considered undeserved or unjust: The review was a bum rap, but I liked the play.

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Also bad rap [bad-rap] /ˈbæd ˈræp/ .

Origin of bum rap

First recorded in 1910–15; bum1 (in the sense “disappointing, unpleasant”) + rap1 (in the sense “blame, punishment, criminal charge”)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for bum rap

bum rap

noun US slang

a trumped-up or false charge
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

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.