carry the can


carry the can
   to receive undeserved punishment while the culprit goes free
   Some authorities suggest that the can contained beer. Common use in the First World War suggests that it was more likely to have carried food prepared behind the lines for those in the trenches. The full version carry the can back may have referred rather to the unpleasant and dangerous duty of taking the can1, with its malodorous cargo of urine and faeces, back to the rear from the trenches; and see rears. The phrase is also used of a guilty person singled out or available for punishment among several miscreants:
    ... whoever inflicted that fatal wound has not been brought to justice... you alone stand to carry the can. (Daily Telegraph, 1 November 1995)
   See also as take the can back.

How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

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