scapegoat

scapegoat (n.) 1530, "goat sent into the wilderness on the Day of Atonement, symbolic bearer of the sins of the people," coined by Tyndale from SCAPE (Cf. scape) (n.) + GOAT (Cf. goat) to translate L. caper emissarius, itself a translation in Vulgate of Hebrew 'azazel (Lev. xvi:8,10,26), which was read as 'ez ozel "goat that departs," but which others hold to be the proper name of a devil or demon in Jewish mythology (sometimes identified with Canaanite deity Aziz). Jerome's reading also was followed by Martin Luther (der ledige Bock), Symmachus (tragos aperkhomenos), and others (Cf. Fr. bouc émissaire), but the question of who, or what (or even where) is meant by 'azazel is a vexed one. The Revised Version (1884) simply restores Azazel. But the old translation has its modern defenders:
Azazel is an active participle or participial noun, derived ultimately from azal (connected with the Arabic word azala, and meaning removed), but immediately from the reduplicate form of that verb, azazal. The reduplication of the consonants of the root in Hebrew and Arabic gives the force of repetition, so that while azal means removed, azalzal means removed by a repetition of acts. Azalzel or azazel, therefore, means one who removes by a series of acts. ... The interpretation is founded on sound etymological grounds, it suits the context wherever the word occurs, it is consistent with the remaining ceremonial of the Day of Atonement, and it accords with the otherwise known religious beliefs and symbolical practices of the Israelites. [Rev. F. Meyrick, "Leviticus," London, 1882]
Meaning "one who is blamed or punished for the mistakes or sins of others" first recorded 1824; the verb is attested from 1943.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • scapegoat — Ⅰ. scapegoat UK US /ˈskeɪpgəʊt/ noun [C] ► a person or thing that is blamed for something bad that someone else has done: »Politicians have used the financial sector as a scapegoat for the global economic crisis. Ⅱ. scapegoat UK US /ˈskeɪpɡəʊt/… …   Financial and business terms

  • scapegoat — ► NOUN 1) a person who is blamed for the wrongdoings or mistakes of others. 2) (in the Bible) a goat sent into the wilderness after the Jewish chief priest had symbolically laid the sins of the people upon it (Leviticus, chapter 16). ► VERB ▪… …   English terms dictionary

  • scapegoat — [skāp′gōt΄] n. [coined by TYNDALE William (1530) < SCAPE2 + GOAT, prob. from LL(Vulg.) caper emissarius, lit., emissary goat, transl. of Gr(Ec) tragos aperchomenos, departing goat, used as transl. of Heb sair laazazel < sair, he goat + l,… …   English World dictionary

  • Scapegoat — Scape goat , n. [Scape (for escape) + goat.] 1. (Jewish Antiq.) A goat upon whose head were symbolically placed the sins of the people, after which he was suffered to escape into the wilderness. Lev. xvi. 10. [1913 Webster] 2. Hence, a person or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • scapegoat — [n] person who takes blame for another’s action boob*, chump, doormat*, dupe, easy mark*, fall guy*, fool, goat*, gull*, mark*, patsy, pigeon*, pushover*, sacrifice, sap*, schmuck*, sitting duck*,  stooge, sucker, victim, weakling; concept 412 …   New thesaurus

  • Scapegoat — 16.The scapegoat is attested in two ritual texts in archives at Ebla of the 24th century BCE. [Ida Zatelli, The Origin of the Biblical Scapegoat Ritual: The Evidence of Two Eblaite Text , Vetus Testamentum 48.2 (April 1998:254 263).] They were… …   Wikipedia

  • scapegoat — I UK [ˈskeɪpˌɡəʊt] / US [ˈskeɪpˌɡoʊt] noun [countable] Word forms scapegoat : singular scapegoat plural scapegoats someone who is blamed for something that is not their fault, especially because someone else wants to avoid being blamed scapegoat… …   English dictionary

  • scapegoat — 1. noun /ˈskeɪpˌɡoʊt,ˈskeɪpˌɡəʊt/ a) 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. He is making me a scapegoat. b) Someone… …   Wiktionary

  • scapegoat — /skayp goht /, n. 1. a person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place. 2. Chiefly Biblical. a goat let loose in the wilderness on Yom Kippur after the high priest symbolically laid the sins of the people on its head …   Universalium

  • scapegoat — scape|goat1 [ skeıp,gout ] noun count someone who is blamed for something that is not their fault, especially because someone else wants to avoid being blamed: scapegoat for: She is being made a scapegoat for the commission s own mistakes.… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.