fall guy

Someone who's been set up to look guilty — and who ends up taking the blame — is a fall guy. The fall guy might end up going to jail while the real guilty party goes free.

You're the fall guy if you look guilty and are punished for a misdeed when you're actually innocent. A fall guy is often foolish or trusting enough to be taken advantage of, and it's a common character in movies and books. Fall guy is thought to have been first used in the US around the turn of the twentieth century, but its origin is disputed. It most likely comes from a criminal slang meaning of fall — "arrest" or "prison term."

Definitions of fall guy
  1. noun
    a person who is gullible and easy to take advantage of
    synonyms: chump, fool, gull, mark, mug, patsy, soft touch, sucker
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    type of:
    dupe, victim
    a person who is tricked or swindled
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