sacrificial lamb

noun

Definition of sacrificial lamb

: someone or something that is deliberately sacrificed to promote a cause or for the benefit of others
  • … has become the sacrificial lamb to deflect criticism about exaggerated charges used to make the case for war on Iraq.
  • —John Diamond
  • Yet some women complain that they are recruited as sacrificial lambs to fill out tickets against incumbents regarded as unbeatable.
  • —Patricia A. Avery

Recent Examples of sacrificial lamb from the Web

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

First Known Use of sacrificial lamb

1834

in the meaning defined above

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

requiring immediate aid or action

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet-pasta-spelling-help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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