Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Whipping Boy

If you ever wondered where the term whipping boy came from you need look no further.

A whipping boy, in feudal times, was a boy of the same age but lower rank raised with a prince or nobleman as a playmate, who was whipped in his place when the young nobleman -- too high in standing to be beaten by anyone below his father, who was often unavailable -- misbehaved or slacked in his studies, as a psychological 'indirect punishment'.

In modern times, the term has come to mean a scapegoat, or something that is a frequent recipient of undue pain, punishment or mistreatment, including inanimate objects.


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