Scapegoat

Origin of: Scapegoat

Scapegoat

A scape goat is a person who is blamed or punished for the wrongdoings of others and first makes its appearance in this sense in the early 19th century. The origin is biblical and comes from the Mosaic ritual of the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:10) when two goats were chosen for sacrifice. By lot, one of the goats would be set free into the wilderness, the sins of the people having been laid upon it symbolically, while the other would be sacrificed. Scape is an old variation of escape. Thus, the goat that was set free was called the ‘scapegoat’.