sacrificial lamb


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

Examples of sacrificial lamb in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The school’s all-time leading passer sent the team to the Big Ten championship game, where whichever West team goes is essentially the sacrificial lamb to Ohio State, and on to a Holiday Bowl victory. Star Tribune, "Roller coaster-riding Northwestern football is back on top," 11 Nov. 2020 New quarterback Spencer Rattler had a much tougher time with K State than season-opening sacrificial lamb Missouri State. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Putting the entire Big Ten Conference on upset watch for 2020: College football Monday Madness," 28 Sep. 2020 From Ann Killion: Willy T. Ribbs fears Bubba Wallace will become NASCAR’s sacrificial lamb. Taylor Kate Brown,, "Bay Briefing: Are we already in a second wave?," 26 June 2020 Ribbs is concerned that Wallace could be a sacrificial lamb, unless the leaders of sport continue to stand with him. Ann Killion,, "Willy T. Ribbs fears Bubba Wallace will become NASCAR’s sacrificial lamb," 25 June 2020 Yet from the outset, FDR’s New Deal excluded key groups, such as agricultural and domestic laborers—sacrificial lambs to Southern demands that any enhancement of labor rights not threaten local relations premised on white supremacy. Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, The New Republic, "When Blackness Is a Preexisting Condition," 4 May 2020 Jews escaped the tenth plague—the killing of firstborn sons in each household—by marking their door posts with the blood of a sacrificial lamb. James Deutsch, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why Is This Year’s Passover Seder Different From All Other Years?," 8 Apr. 2020 Neither of you wants to leave the soft folds of your bed sheets and perfectly fluffy pillows, but someone has to be the sacrificial lamb. Talia Abbas, Glamour, "The Casper Glow Light Is My Ticket to Deeper, Better Sleep," 31 Mar. 2020 With the exception of 1-5 Georgia Tech, every Coastal team has a shot at the division title — and to be a sacrificial lamb to Clemson in the ACC title game. C.j. Doon,, "Is Penn State elite? Who’s going to win the Pac-12? Most intriguing college football questions for Week 8," 17 Oct. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of sacrificial lamb

1834, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of sacrificial lamb was in 1834

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Cite this Entry

“Sacrificial lamb.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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