This week's Word of the Week has a very intriguing history. A Prügelknabe is the German version of a whipping boy, a position that was introduced at the English court a few centuries ago. Whipping boys were boys who grew up and were educated with princes and were punished for the failings of their royal companions. This was because no one but the king had the right to punish a prince, and the king was often absent. This form of discipline worked because the princes often developed a close relationship with their whipping boy, making it hard for them to witness the punishment that they should have undergone themselves. Click here for more background information.
Today, Prügelknabe is mainly used as a synonym for scapegoat. The same is true for prygelknabe, which is the form Prügelknabe takes in Danish and Norwegian.
The image is from www.gucca.dk.