‘Scapegoat’ means ‘someone (usually someone blameless) made (by a group) to carry the blame for others’. For example, imagine I’m a child and my family are very poor and they feel angry about it. My parents might always get angry at me – even though I do nothing wrong – because they are angry and a child is an easy target. In that case, I could say, ‘My family is using me as a scapegoat’ or ‘My family is scapegoating me’. This word comes from a custom of ancient Israel. People used to take a goat from their farm, ‘tell’ the goat the bad things they had done, and send the goat away to the desert to die. They believed the bad things they had done would ‘die’ with the goat.
A: Meghan Markle is terrible. She has made Prince Harry step away from his family and his country.
B: No. She is a scapegoat. Prince Harry can make his own decisions. People are scapegoating Meghan just because they’re scared to blame a prince.
Can you think of an example of a scapegoat?