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avoir bon dos

The French expression “avoir bon dos” translates literally to ‘to have a good back’. English meanings include:

  • to take the blame
  • to be a convenient scapegoat
  • to be a convenient whipping boy
  • to be the fall guy

This idiom can be used in connection with people and businesses. Here’s an example sentence:

  • À chaque fois qu’on casse une assiette c’est moi qui ai bon dos! Every time someone breaks a plate I’m the one who takes the blame!

In French you can also say, “assumer le blâme”, to assume or take the blame. In addition, a “bouc émissaire” is a scapegoat.

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site,, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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