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 Orsted will have wanted to avoid becoming the sacrificial lamb in the right’s latest rampage against the offshore wind sector. Byryan Hogg, Fortune Europe, 17 Nov. 2023 Indeed, Paris may be the unfortunate sacrificial lamb in an apparent epidemic that has been a long time coming across the rest of the globe. Ryan Hogg, Fortune, 17 Oct. 2023 After years of romping over Republican sacrificial lambs in elections, she was confronted in her quest for a sixth straight Senate victory in 2018 by her own restive party. Cathleen Decker, Los Angeles Times, 29 Sep. 2023 Venice shouldn’t be used as a sacrificial lamb to make a point. Catherine Bennett, WIRED, 15 Aug. 2023 In JetBlue’s quest to buy Spirit Airlines, its alliance with American Airlines is the sacrificial lamb. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz, 6 July 2023 This sacrificial lamb to The Watchdog is not going to enjoy the next few minutes of his life. Dave Lieber, Dallas News, 30 May 2023 But in fairness, the presidential aspirants who ended up as 2016’s sacrificial lambs were at least in uncharted territory. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 17 May 2023 Diana would be the last sacrificial lamb. Jennifer Weiner, Glamour, 9 Mar. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sacrificial lamb.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1834, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sacrificial lamb was in 1834

Dictionary Entries Near sacrificial lamb

Cite this Entry

“Sacrificial lamb.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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