Monday, August 24, 2015

scrapegoat/scapegoat: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Monday, August 24, 2015

Leviticus 16:5–10 describes an ancient ritual in which a goat was symbolically laden with the sins of the people and driven out into the desert to the demon Azazel. In early English translations confusion led to this goat being called a “scapegoat” (for “escaped goat”). A person or cause being sacrificed as a victim to spare others is therefore referred to as a scapegoat. You load the burdens on; you don’t scrape them off.

This is the tenth year of the Common Errors in English Usage calendar. To celebrate, we are bringing back some of our favorite interesting, funny, but sometimes merely silly entries through the years before going on hiatus in 2016.

Enjoy the calendar? Buy the book!

No comments:

Post a Comment