Definitions
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noun 
  1. In the Mosaic Day of Atonement ritual, a goat symbolically imbued with the sins of the people, and sent out alive into the wilderness while another was sacrificed.
    • 1646: alluding herein unto the heart of man and the precious bloud of our Saviour, who was typified by the Goat that was slain, and the scape-Goat in the Wilderness " Sir Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica, Book II, ch 5
      1. Someone punished for the error or errors of someone else.
      He is making me a .
    • 1834: Thomas Babington Macaulay, "William Pitt, Earl of Chatham" http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/2332
    • :The new Secretary of State had been long sick of the perfidy and levity of the First Lord of the Treasury, and began to fear that he might be made a to save the old intriguer who, imbecile as he seemed, never wanted dexterity where danger was to be avoided.
Translations: 
  • Dutch: (t, nl, zondebok, m)
  • French: (t, fr, bouc émissaire, m)
  • German: Sí¼ndenbock(de)m
  • Italian: capro espiatorio(it)
  • Spanish: chivo expiatorio(es, cabeza de turco, f}}, {{t-, es)m
verb 
  1. (transitive) To punish someone for the error or errors of someone else; to make a scapegoat of.
:Don't me for your mistake.
    • 1950: Rachel Davis DuBois?, Neighbors in Action: A Manual for Local Leaders in Intergroup Relations, p37
    • :People tend to fear and then to ... groups which seem to them to be fundamentally different from their own.
    • 1975: Richard M. Harris, Adam Kendon, Mary Ritchie Key, Organization of Behavior in Face-to-face Interaction, p66
    • :They had been used for centuries to justify or rationalize the behavior of that status and conversely to and blame some other category of people.
    • 1992: George H.W. Bush, State of the Union Address http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/5047
    • :And I want to add, as we make these changes, we work together to improve this system, that our intention is not scapegoating and finger-pointing.
    • 2004: Yvonne M. Agazarian, Systems-Centered Therapy for Groups, p208
    • :Then either the world or others or the self becomes the target for the human tendency to .
Translations: 
  • German: zum Sí¼ndenbock machen
Etymology: Coined by w:William Tyndale, Tyndale from scape + goat, translating Hebrew (HEchar, ) (Leviticus 16:8, 10, 26). First attested 1530.


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