A scapegoat is an innocent person who is made to take the take the blame for the wrongdoings done by others. For example, when a child breaks something in the home and blame is passed by him onto one of his siblings before the parents. In the world of crime, there are persons who bear the blame for the crime done by some other prominent member of the gang. This is done in order to keep the major part of the gang free and to carry on the activities unhindered.
Origin of Scapegoat?
The origin of the term is from the Bible. The story is in the Old Testament book of Leviticus. It goes like this. For religious ritual as was the custom in older days animal sacrifice was performed. Two goats are brought in the place of ritual. One is sacrificed by killing it. But another one is allowed to “escape‘ into the wilderness in the hope that it will carry away all the sins of the people of Israel with it. So it becomes Escaped Goat.
The term “Escaped Goat” when rendered from Leviticus into English became “scapegoat“
In any case both the animals are doomed. One is actually sacrificed by killing it and other might die under the burden of sins of others.