Scapegoat is a closed compound word. Escape goat is an eggcorn. A compound word is a word derived from two or more separate words used together to create another word. Compound words are new words that have a different meaning than the definitions of the original words. Compound words are usually composed of two nouns, or an adjective and a noun. New compound words usually consist of two or more separate words, and are called open compound words. An open compound word is a noun that is composed of two words that are often used together, yet still maintain a space between the two words. This type of compound is also referred to as a spaced compound word. It might be difficult to identify such a term as a compound word. To qualify as an open compound word, the term must have a different meaning from the definitions of each of the original words. Midway through their evolution, compound words may acquire hyphens between the two or more words. A hyphenated compound word is a compound that is composed of two or more words linked by hyphens. Hyphenated compound words are the most likely type of compound words to be composed of two adjectives or two verbs. Hyphenated compound words are often coined by writers, as J.K. Rowling did when she created the phrase He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named to describe Lord Voldemort. In general, hyphenated compound words are midway on the journey between being rendered as separate words to being rendered as one word. When a compound becomes a closed compound word, which consists of two or more words joined without any hyphen or space, it has usually been in use for a long time, though the advent of the internet has sped up the process of becoming a closed compound word. Understanding words that are compound words will expand one’s basic English vocabulary. We will examine the meaning of the word scapegoat and the difference between scapegoat and escape goat, their etymologies, and some examples of correct usage in a sentence or two.
A scapegoat is someone who takes the blame for someone else; a person who is identified as the cause of a failure, mistake, or wrongdoing but who is not in fact, responsible. The word scapegoat has been in use at least since the 1500s and is derived the Old English verb scape, which means to escape, and the word goat. Scapegoats were once real animals: goats that symbolically carried the sins of the Jewish community into the wilderness, away from the people. Scapegoat is most often used as a noun, though it may be used as a verb or adjective; related words are scapegoats, scapegoated, scapegoating.
Escape goat is an eggcorn, which is a misheard word or phrase that retains the meaning of the original, correct word or phrase. Though the scape in scapegoat does mean escape, escape goat is a vocabulary error.
In light of recent events, I saw that child in my head, and “it” at this moment was Asian-American: pleading for attention, overlooked, and dehumanized as scapegoats, viruses, and “temptations” whom one could eliminate to have a better day. (New York Daily News)
A restaurateur claims the hospitality industry has once again been made the “scapegoat” for the spread of Covid-19. (Harwich and Manningtree Standard)
It is “based on mere conjecture and speculation about my future conduct” and “a betrayal of the Constitution that many refuse to confront as they scapegoat me for every malady in society”. (Daily Maverick)