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fall guy

a person who takes the blame

TRANSLATION

fall guy = Angeschmierter, Prügelknabe, Bauernopfer, leichtes Opfer, Sündenbock

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

Saudis Plan to Pin Khashoggi Slaying on 'Rogue' General - Sources tell The Daily Beast the Saudis are settling on a FALL GUY to distance their crown prince from the killing of a dissident.

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fall guy
colloquial noun phrase

a person who is blamed for something done by others

Merriam-Webster

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ORIGIN

This Americanism appeared first in print the beginning of the 20th century:

"Bard is worked as a 'fall guy'. When some one comes along with a pull on Perkins and asks for a job that the senior Senator doesn't want to give him, it is very convenient to pass the burden of refusal on to Bard. ... it is easy enough to see how handy is a good 'fall guy' for cases of annoying emergency."

From The Oakland Tribune, December 1904

The term 'fall money' was also in use in the USA from the late 19th century onward. This was an amount of money put aside for a criminal while in jail. A 'fall guy' who had 'taken the rap' for a wealthier or more powerful colleague could expect to receive 'fall money' on release from prison.

Phrase Finder

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SYNONYMS

scapegoat, patsy, boob, chump, dupe, fool, goat, mark, sacrifice, sap, schlemiel, stooge, sucker, victim, schmuck, pigeon

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Thanks to Nick for suggesting today's word

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