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

New stories needed: Critic Joshua Kosman asks: When will opera stop treating women as sacrificial lambs? Taylor Kate Brown,, "Bay Briefing: When an opioid prescription leads to murder charges," 16 Aug. 2019 Bob Forsch replaced him and became the sacrificial lamb, being left in for seven 18-hit, 10-run innings as Astros Manager Art Howe tried to save his bullpen for a big series against the San Francisco Giants. Mark Schmetzer,, "Top Cincinnati Reds games: No. 25 – Club hit 16, scored 14 in 1st inning vs Houston Astros," 29 July 2019 And what about Heather, the show’s sacrificial lamb? Time, "Let's Discuss the 10 Big Questions We Have After Binging Stranger Things Season 3," 4 July 2019 Jughead ends the season by giving himself up as a sacrificial lamb to the Ghoulies. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Everything That Happened On "Riverdale" Season 2," 8 Oct. 2018 Lunz guided the Bexar County Republican Party in the late 1960s, when a successful election cycle for the GOP meant finding enough sacrificial lambs to fill out the ballot. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "Brehm would lead local GOP further to the fringe," 8 May 2018 At least Nick Saban is nice enough not to run up the score on the sacrificial lambs of college football. Joseph Goodman,, "Alabama will be better without Collin Sexton," 17 Mar. 2018 So, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who figured to be the sacrificial lamb after the Ravens stumbled through that horrid first half against the Bengals, is still in place and the team reorganized the coaching staff. Peter Schmuck,, "Schmuck: Ravens were never going to win all their fans back in one week," 7 Jan. 2018 Sure enough, Geillis is in there with Ian, who’s all trussed up like a sacrificial lamb. Elizabeth Angell, Town & Country, "Outlander Season 3 Finale: Claire and Jamie Head Straight for "The Eye of the Storm"," 11 Dec. 2017

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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Last Updated

29 Aug 2019

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The first known use of sacrificial lamb was in 1834

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