Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Scapegoat.

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
The Biajùs or aborigenes of Borneo observe a custom bearing a considerable resemblance to that of the scapegoat. They annually launch a small bark laden with all the sins and misfortunes of the nation, which, says Dr. Leyden, “they imagine will fall on the unhappy crew that first meets with it.”   1
   The scapegoat of the family. One made to bear the blame of the rest of the family; one always chidden and found fault with, let who may be in the wrong. The allusion is to a Jewish custom: Two goats being brought to the altar of the tabernacle on the Day of Atonement, the high priest cast lots; one was for the Lord, and the other for Azaz’el. The goat on which the first lot fell was sacrificed, the other was the scapegoat; and the high priest having, by confession, transferred his own sins and the sins of the people to it, the goat was taken to the wilderness and suffered to escape.   2



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