whipping boy


: a boy formerly educated with a prince and punished in his stead

Examples of whipping boy in a Sentence

used the government's economic policies as the whipping boy for every bad decision the company made
Recent Examples on the Web When Trump loses, Fox will be a whipping boy. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 6 Nov. 2020 As head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Fauci has become a standard whipping boy for conservatives pushing back against anti-pandemic restrictions, but few politicians have placed him at the center of their outreach to their political base like DeSantis. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 4 Aug. 2021 Still, having his excoriating assessments collected between hard covers makes for a powerful indictment, the more so because Boehner’s book vividly captures the growing horror of a bartender’s kid who evolved from a reflexive Democrat to a Reagan Republican to a tea party whipping boy. Washington Post, 9 Apr. 2021 The weaponization subcommittee’s foremost target will be the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which during Trump’s presidency became a whipping boy for the right, contradicting the GOP’s claim to champion law and order. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 21 Feb. 2023 Jamie, the lawyer, is the resident whipping boy, the black sheep whose ambitions surpass his mettle. Lauren Michele Jackson, The New Yorker, 4 Feb. 2023 Abbott has made the end of Title 42 a principal whipping boy in his reelection campaign, and has promised to continue his Operation Lone Star to stop the flow of migrants across the border. Dallas News, 13 Apr. 2022 Or why Mac has everyone so jazzed up about investigating the old perennial Gang whipping boy Rickety Cricket found in the alley. Dennis Perkins, EW.com, 3 Sep. 2022 Paymer is an asset, playing with effortless conviction the eternal whipping boy who has a core of real strength. Washington Post, 28 Apr. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'whipping boy.' 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

1647, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of whipping boy was in 1647

Dictionary Entries Near whipping boy

Cite this Entry

“Whipping boy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whipping%20boy. Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

whipping boy

whip·​ping boy
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