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


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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 The polar vortex – everyone's favorite wintertime whipping boy – is a large area of cold air high up in the atmosphere that normally spins over the North Pole (as its name suggests). Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "What happened to winter? And where's the polar vortex?," 19 Feb. 2020 PSV Eindhoven are their unfortunate whipping boys, while Leverkusen are winless in four Champions League games against Atlético (W0 D1 L3) since beating them 1-0 in February 2015 in their first meeting. SI.com, "Bayer Leverkusen vs Atlético Madrid: 5 Key Stats & Facts to Impress Your Mates Ahead of Crunch Clash," 6 Nov. 2019 Cousins has gone from whipping boy to top-level performer, throwing 18 touchdown passes and only one interception in the last seven games while leading his team to six wins in that stretch. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Upon Further Review: Jimmy Garoppolo's rebound, Kirk Cousins' surge and a peek into the NFL's cellar," 19 Nov. 2019 Eight plus one = nine, and therefore Brighton will inherently become Chelsea's whipping boys. SI.com, "Chelsea v Brighton: 7 Key Facts & Stats to Impress Your Mates Ahead of Premier League Encounter," 28 Sep. 2019 Since defeating league whipping boys Southampton 3-1 in September, the Cherries are without a win in five games. SI.com, "Bournemouth vs Man Utd: 7 Key Facts & Stats to Impress Your Mates Ahead of Premier League Clash," 2 Nov. 2019 O'Neill has worked wonders to turn the Northern Irish from whipping boys into a genuinely competitive outfit. SI.com, "Northern Ireland 0-2 Germany: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Visitors Fight to Earn Win," 9 Sep. 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for whipping boy

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The first known use of whipping boy was in 1647

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Cite this Entry

“Whipping boy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whipping%20boy. Accessed 4 Jul. 2020.

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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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