whipping boy


Definition of whipping boy

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

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Synonyms for whipping boy


fall guy, goat, scapegoat

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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

Adding Toronto fan whipping boy Jake Gardiner would be a nice play for a team that has just five defensemen under contact. Matt Porter, BostonGlobe.com, "Where NHL teams stand entering free agency," 29 June 2019 Even after just two matches in Group A - the Saudis' humiliation by Russia and a narrow 1-0 win for Uruguay over Egypt - the Asian side already look likely to be the group's whipping boys. SI.com, "Unlucky Numbers: Shirt Printing Error Adds to Saudi Arabia's Woes After Thrashing by Hosts Russia," 15 June 2018 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

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.

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First Known Use of whipping boy

1647, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for whipping boy

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for whipping boy

The first known use of whipping boy was in 1647

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More Definitions for whipping boy

whipping boy


English Language Learners Definition of whipping boy

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

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Comments on whipping boy

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characterized by aphorism

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