fall guy

noun Slang.

an easy victim.
a scapegoat.

Origin of fall guy

An Americanism dating back to 1905–10
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for fall guy

fall guy

noun informal

a person who is the victim of a confidence trick
a scapegoat
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 fall guy

fall guy


A scapegoat, one who is blamed for the actions of others. For example, He refused to be the fall guy for his colleagues. This expression uses fall in the sense of “consequences” or “blame,” which originated in prison slang. [Slang; early 1900s] Also see take the fall.


An easy victim, one who is readily duped. For example, His friends had marked him as the fall guy—they knew he would believe their ruse. [Slang; early 1900s]

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