Trivia

Hard

The Modern Term “Scapegoat” Comes To Us By Way Of?

Ancient Judaic Ritual
Native American Shamans
Polish Fertility Rites
Roman Politics
The painting, Agnus-Dei: The Scapegoat, by James Tissot.
Brooklyn Museum/Wikimedia

Answer: Ancient Judaic Ritual

In modern usage, a scapegoat is a person blamed for some wrongdoing, mistake, or problem caused by another person and is, typically, punished in their stead. In a family-owned company, for example, workers not related to the family might feel uneasy when one of the owner’s children makes a mistake on the job because they fear the blame could be transferred to them and that they might be the scapegoat for the whole mess.

Transfer is the proper word to use here because if you trace the term “scapegoat” back to its origin, you’ll find a special kind of transfer indeed. In ancient Judaism, the scapegoat was a literal goat that was ritually designated to symbolically take on the sins of the people during the Day of Atonement ceremonies.

The High Priest would confess the intentional sins of the people during a ceremony, placing them figuratively on the head of the chosen goat, which would symbolically “take them away”. The goat would then be driven out into the desert as part of the ceremonies, taking the sins of the people with it.

Today, even though most people are unaware of the historical context, it retains the general meaning with the person serving as the scapegoat often being driven from the community—typically a workplace or organization—to serve as the “sacrifice” that restores order.

Trivia

Easy

The First Cartoon Character To Get A Star On The Walk Of Fame Was?

Trivia

Hard

Despite The Common Belief, The Word Sushi Does Not Refer To Raw Fish But?

Trivia

Hard

Maryland Has An Official Holiday Celebrating Which Video Game Franchise?

Trivia

Easy

What Early Plastic Was Created as an Alternative to Secreted Beetle Resin?

Trivia

Hard

What Is The Oldest Known Analog Computer In The World?

Trivia

Very Hard

The Search Engine Equivalent Of The 555 Telephone Numbers Seen In Television And Film Is?

Trivia

Very Hard

Which Space Mission Was Guided Home Safely With A Wristwatch And Grease Pencil?

Trivia

Hard

Which Iconic American Food Was Originally Packaged In Cologne Bottles?

Trivia

Hard

The Loudest Frog In The World Is The?

Trivia

Easy

Which Tech Company Once Consumed 100% Of The World’s CD Production Capabilities?