Fall guy

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Fall guy is an American term that first appeared at the beginning of the twentieth century. We will examine the meaning of the term fall guy, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

A fall guy is a scapegoat, a person who takes the blame for a crime, mistake or other error. In this case, the word fall is slang for a prison sentence or a time spent in jail paying for a crime. The term fall guy has expanded to mean not only the scapegoated person taking responsibility for a crime, but may also mean a scapegoat who is assigned responsibility for any catastrophe, such as a business snafu. Remember, the fall guy is scapegoat, he may be only partially responsible for a crime or mistake or he might hold no culpability whatsoever. Note that fall guy is two separate words, the plural form is fall guys.


I remember telling Carmelo last July in Las Vegas at the U.S. Olympic training camp that he was being set up as the fall guy. (The New York Daily News)

It is inexcusable and irresponsible that Reps. Hultgren, Roskam and Kinzinger (“Hultgren, Roskam and Kinzinger avoid being Trumpcare fall guy” — May 4) cast the deciding votes in support of the American Health Care Act, which will decimate healthcare for so many people in Illinois. (The Chicago Sun-Times)

Black was the fall guy, never mind the Padres hardly supplied him with a wealth of talent. (The Coast News)

He was a manager desperate not to be the fall guy for issues at boardroom level, it seems unlikely that he would have agreed to take a massive backseat at Molineux in terms of transfers. (The Birmingham Mail)