whipping boy


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


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 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, 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, 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, 19 Nov. 2019 Eight plus one = nine, and therefore Brighton will inherently become Chelsea's whipping boys. SI.com, 28 Sep. 2019 Since defeating league whipping boys Southampton 3-1 in September, the Cherries are without a win in five games. SI.com, 2 Nov. 2019 O'Neill has worked wonders to turn the Northern Irish from whipping boys into a genuinely competitive outfit. SI.com, 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, 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, 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.

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

Time Traveler for whipping boy

Time Traveler

The first known use of whipping boy was in 1647

See more words from the same year

Statistics for whipping boy

Cite this Entry

“Whipping boy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whipping%20boy. Accessed 23 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on whipping boy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for whipping boy


Test Your Vocabulary

Return of Name that Color!

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!