Whipping boy | Definition of Whipping boy at aunniegsgems.com
Where does this come from? Was he ever a real boy? First off, a whipping-boy is a scapegoat, a person who suffers punishment because of the faults of somebody else. Sunday Times, 8 Jul. These days, whipping-boy is as figurative a term as scapegoat. But we once did. The term seems never to have been attached literally to anybody much below the companion of a prince.
He was the child, brought up with a prince or with a young king, and punished on his behalf, when the prince or king was naughty: crucially the royal and his proxy were friends so any pain was vicariously felt. And why not just hit the royal in question? For instance, Charles I obit had William Murray as his whipping boy and William was amply rewarded in later life. Where though did the custom originate?