scapegoat

[ skeyp-goht ]
/ ˈskeɪpˌgoʊt /

noun

a person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place.
Chiefly Biblical. a goat let loose in the wilderness on Yom Kippur after the high priest symbolically laid the sins of the people on its head. Leviticus 16:8,10,26.

verb (used with object)

to make a scapegoat of: Strike leaders tried to scapegoat foreign competitors.

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Origin of scapegoat

First recorded in 1520–30; scape2 + goat
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for scapegoat

British Dictionary definitions for scapegoat

scapegoat
/ (ˈskeɪpˌɡəʊt) /

noun

a person made to bear the blame for others
Old Testament a goat used in the ritual of Yom Kippur (Leviticus 16); it was symbolically laden with the sins of the Israelites and sent into the wilderness to be destroyed

verb

(tr) to make a scapegoat of

Word Origin for scapegoat

C16: from escape + goat, coined by William Tyndale to translate Biblical Hebrew azāzēl (probably) goat for Azazel, mistakenly thought to mean ``goat that escapes''
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 scapegoat

scapegoat

A person or group that is made to bear blame for others. According to the Old Testament, on the Day of Atonement, a priest would confess all the sins of the Israelites over the head of a goat and then drive it into the wilderness, symbolically bearing their sins away.

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.