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  • Date Submitted: 03/23/2010 02:21 PM
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scape·goat   /ˈskeɪpˌgoʊt/   Show Spelled[skeyp-goht]   Show IPA
–noun
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. Lev. 16:8,10,26.
–verb (used with object)
3.to make a scapegoat of: Strike leaders tried to scapegoat foreign competitors.
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Origin:
1520–30; scape2 + goat
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2010.
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Word Origin & History

scapegoat

1530, "goat sent into the wilderness on the Day of Atonement, symbolic bearer of the sins of the people," coined by Tyndale from scape (n.) + goat, to translate L. caper emissarius, a mistranslation in Vulgate of Heb. 'azazel (Lev. xvi:8,10,26), which was read as 'ez ozel "goat that departs," but is actually the proper name of a devil or demon in Jewish mythology (sometimes identified with Canaanite deity Aziz). Jerome's mistake also was followed by Martin Luther (der ledige Bock), Symmachus (tragos aperkhomenos), and others (cf. Fr. bouc émissaire). The Revised Version (1884) restores Azazel. Meaning "one who is blamed or punished for the mistakes or sins of others" first recorded 1824; the verb is attested from 1943.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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