Dictionary.com

scapegoat

[ skeyp-goht ]
/ ˈskeɪpˌgoʊt /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: scapegoat / scapegoats on Thesaurus.com

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.
QUIZ
TAKE JOY IN ACING THIS QUIZ ON “PRIDE” SYNONYMS
Hold your head up high as you embark on this quiz that explores some of the synonyms and meanings of “pride.”
Question 1 of 7
What does "dignity" mean?

Origin of scapegoat

First recorded in 1520–30; scape2 + goat
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use scapegoat in a sentence

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.
FEEDBACK