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 Storybook Land featured nursery rhyme-themed displays, such as Jack and Jill’s fateful hill, a giant shoe for The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, a sleepy Little Boy Blue and live animals such as black sheep. Nataly Keomoungkhoun, Dallas News, "What happened to D-FW’s theme parks? Curious Texas straps in to investigate," 19 Aug. 2020 There's a black sheep in the game, along with a red sheep who is more defiant than the others. Trilby Beresford, The Hollywood Reporter, "Play NYC Developers Share Semi-Autobiographical Visual Novel, Sheep Herding Puzzle Game," 13 Aug. 2020 Izzy Richardson, the youngest daughter and black sheep of the Richardson family played by Megan Stott, was a similar case. Emily Hilton, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Little Fires Everywhere' Author-Producer Celeste Ng on Her "Characters of Color" and Their "Power Imbalance"," 6 Aug. 2020 By his own account the black sheep of an illustrious family, Peter Hill Beard was born in Manhattan on Jan. 22, 1938, to Anson McCook Beard and Roseanne (Hoar) Beard. Margalit Fox,, "Peter Beard, wildlife photographer on the wild side," 20 Apr. 2020 Uranus is the celestial black sheep of our small cosmic family. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "How an Ancient Ring System Might've Made Uranus a Bit Tipsy," 16 Mar. 2020 Meanwhile, youngest Richardson Izzy (Megan Stott), the gothy, bullied black sheep of the family, finds a kindred spirit in Mia. Judy Berman, Time, "Little Fires Everywhere," 11 Mar. 2020 Carbon-14, however, is the isotopic black sheep of the carbon family. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "Murder! Espionage! Cosmic Rays! The History of Carbon-14 Is Way More Thrilling Than You Think," 25 Feb. 2020 Dern will play George’s brother Frank, who is described as the scientific genius and ostracized black sheep of the Zax family. Rosy Cordero,, "It's Billy Bob Thornton versus J.K. Simmons and Bruce Dern in Goliath final season," 3 Feb. 2020

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

Time Traveler for black sheep

Time Traveler

The first known use of black sheep was in 1657

See more words from the same year

Statistics for black sheep

Last Updated

1 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Black sheep.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Sep. 2020.

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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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!