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Definition of "scapegoat" [scape•goat]

  • One that is made to bear the blame of others. (noun)
  • Bible A live goat over whose head Aaron confessed all the sins of the children of Israel on the Day of Atonement. The goat, symbolically bearing their sins, was then sent into the wilderness. (noun)
  • To make a scapegoat of. (verb-transitive)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "scapegoat" in a sentence
  • "One of our friends, Gwinya, told us that the term scapegoat derives from an ancient ritual in one traditional community."
  • "He begins with William Tyndale, whose English-language translation of the bible published in 1530 contained the first use of the term "scapegoat" and who then became a scapegoat himself when he was described by Thomas More as a "hell-hound" and blamed for the Peasants' War in Germany."
  • "Holian also brought a goat and explained to the students where the term scapegoat originated."