black sheep


Definition of black sheep 

: a disfavored or disreputable member of a group

Examples of black sheep in a Sentence

She was the black sheep of the family.

Recent Examples on the Web

The other Dutton siblings are various shades of black sheep. James Poniewozik, New York Times, "Review: ‘Yellowstone’ Wrangles Daddy Issues on the Range," 19 June 2018 An Aquarius appears as the black sheep of the zodiac. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, "What Your Zodiac Sign Says About Your Online Dating Style," 6 July 2018 Alex Roe co-stars as the black sheep of a wealthy, politically powerful local family. David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle, "What’s on TV, April 12-15: ‘Siren’ sings, as does ‘Elvis Presley: The Searcher’," 12 Apr. 2018 Burnham was the artistic black sheep of a sporty family. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "Bo Burnham’s Age of Anxiety," 8 Dec. 2014 But the princess' names for her black sheep is this is not the first incident opening her up to criticism for her racist attitudes. Meghan Markle, Fox News, "Princess Michael of Kent reportedly had two black sheep named Venus and Serena," 28 Apr. 2018 Still Pruitt's abrupt transformation into the black sheep of the Cabinet has Washington abuzz. Evan Halper,, "Once a Trump favorite, can Scott Pruitt save his job?," 5 Apr. 2018 The 2018 cycle was likely to be a black sheep of sorts for the Michigan staff after signing a laundry list of four-star prospects in the 2016 and 2017 class. Doug Lesmerises,, "How Michigan and Penn State are recruiting at Ohio State's level (almost): National Signing Day 2018," 6 Feb. 2018 But its lackluster driving dynamics don’t match up with the athletic ATS, CTS, and CT6 sedans, and its cabin doesn’t pamper occupants quite like the Escalade’s does, making the XT5 a sort of black sheep in the Cadillac family. Drew Dorian, Car and Driver, "2018 Cadillac XT5," 20 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'black sheep.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of black sheep

1657, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about black sheep

Share black sheep

Statistics for black sheep

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for black sheep

The first known use of black sheep was in 1657

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for black sheep

black sheep


English Language Learners Definition of black sheep

: someone who does not fit in with the rest of a group and is often considered to be a troublemaker or an embarrassment

More from Merriam-Webster on black sheep

See words that rhyme with black sheep

Spanish Central: Translation of black sheep

Comments on black sheep

What made you want to look up black sheep? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!