whipping boy

noun

Definition of whipping boy 

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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for whipping boy

Synonyms

fall guy, goat, scapegoat

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Costa Rica, barring an unlikely miracle, should be the group whipping boys, meaning the game between Serbia and Switzerland could be vital. SI.com, "2018 FIFA World Cup Team Preview: Analysing Serbia's Chances at the Tournament," 3 June 2018 One of Trump’s real successes as president has been keeping his voters loyal by cleverly using McConnell and other GOP leaders as whipping boys. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "How the Republican Party Eats Itself, But Stays Alive," 8 May 2018 For as much as is possible on a team that’s begun the year with 16 wins in its first 22 games, Avila had turned into something of a local whipping boy, catching flak from fans and radio hosts for his brutal start. Nick Piecoro, azcentral, "Alex Avila, Robbie Ray take steps forward in Diamondbacks' road win over Phillies," 24 Apr. 2018 Chile were the whipping boys and Algeria raced into a three-goal lead by half time in the final group game courtesy of a brace from Salah Assad and a third by Tedj Bensaolua. SI.com, "World Cup Countdown: 9 Weeks to Go - West Germany, Austria, Algeria & the 'Disgrace of Gijon'," 18 Apr. 2018 Even after becoming the president’s whipping boy, Sessions persevered—advancing his own personal vendetta against marijuana and all the hippies and darkies that use it. Monique Judge, The Root, "Donald Trump Hates Jeff Sessions So Much, He Is Now in Support of Legalized Marijuana," 17 Apr. 2018 The political optics haven't changed much—with one significant exception: China has replaced Japan as the dominant regional player and whipping boy for American (and the Trump administration’s) concerns about trade imbalances. Krishnadev Calamur, The Atlantic, "When Donald Trump Heads East," 3 Nov. 2017 Through the first five days of the postseason, starting pitcher served primarily as whipping boys, with even the aces and frontliners routinely getting lashed. Jay Jaffe, SI.com, "Yankees, Dodgers Prove Playoffs Are Being Dominated by Bullpens and Strikeouts," 12 Oct. 2017 Lee, who has thrown a nation-high nine interceptions, has been the fans' whipping boy during a poor start to Riley's third year in Lincoln. USA TODAY, "Nebraska shakes off Rutgers in 2nd half for 27-17 victory," 23 Sep. 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of whipping boy

1647, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about whipping boy

Share whipping boy

Statistics for whipping boy

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for whipping boy

The first known use of whipping boy was in 1647

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for whipping boy

whipping boy

noun

English Language Learners Definition of whipping boy

: someone or something that often is blamed for problems caused by other people

More from Merriam-Webster on whipping boy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with whipping boy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for whipping boy

Comments on whipping boy

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

WORD OF THE DAY

the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!