Meaning of whipping boy in English:

whipping boy


  • A person who is blamed or punished for the faults or incompetence of others.

    ‘I may end up as the whipping boy if things go wrong’
    • ‘Of course, you are an innocent victim, the whipping boy to be punished for other people's crimes.’
    • ‘It's tempting to blame those familiar whipping boys: television and the movies.’
    • ‘It is always easy to blame the politicians, they have become our favourite whipping boys, but we are just as guilty as them in our failure to examine social phenomena rigorously.’
    • ‘Cage is a popular whipping boy for critics, but he nails David's hang-dog mood and successfully transforms him into a charismatic personality when the red light of the camera is on.’
    • ‘Even though we are the supposed ‘super power’ of democracy, we tend to be the whipping boy of not just foes, but in some cases, of our allies.’
    • ‘Indeed, he has become a whipping boy for critics who are afraid to attack a popular Commander-in-Chief.’
    • ‘It's the career path of a Hollywood young gun's dreams and yet to the critics, Reeves remains their favourite whipping boy.’
    • ‘For Bears fans, the worst part is they can't even blame their team's woes on their former whipping boy, Smith.’
    • ‘As far as the teams go in the League I suppose we're the whipping boys as we've only started.’
    • ‘Unfortunately it confirms something we've been suspecting for awhile now: we are Australia's whipping boys / girls on the sporting field.’
    • ‘Kerry now travel to London next weekend and it will be shock of the decade if they fail to add another two points to their tally against the whipping boys of Division 2A.’
    • ‘The former Dublin star has been a loyal Na Fianna man for 20 years and has done more than most to contribute to his club's transformation from whipping boys to kingpins.’
    • ‘That relative disinterest may be partly a result of the fact that the national team has only recently started being anything more than the whipping boys of European soccer.’
    • ‘Paul Broadbent's men went into the game as many people's favourites for promotion to Division One, while most punters had Thunder down as potential whipping boys.’
    • ‘Lawyers seem to be popular whipping boys for a range of social ills, but they're also funny, as this joke proves: An engineer dies and is sent to hell.’
    • ‘At one stage, only the dismal form of whipping boys Caerphilly looked capable of saving them from the indignity of a winless season.’
    • ‘If Louth expected an easy run out against the Division's whipping boys, they certainly did not get it.’
    • ‘They are now sitting comfortable in mid table and should no longer be treated as the whipping boys of this division.’
    • ‘From the opening exchanges it was clear that Sligo weren't going to be the whipping boys this time around.’
    • ‘The year was 1951 and they were the whipping boys of the league - yet to win a premiership.’


Extended use of the original term (mid 17th century) denoting a boy educated with a young prince or other royal person and punished instead of him.


whipping boy