take the rap


To be punished or blamed, especially when innocent: “The crime boss arranged it so that his underling took the rap for the insurance scam.”

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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.

Idioms and Phrases with take the rap

take the rap

Be punished or blamed for something, as in I don't want to take the rap for Mary, who forgot to mail the check in time, or Steve is such a nice guy that he's always taking the rap for his colleagues. This slangy idiom originally used rap in the sense of “a criminal charge,” a usage still current. By the mid-1900s it was also used more broadly.

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