★☆☆Words and Their Stories: Fall Guy

2012年10月22日 ★☆☆, 2013年6月以前の記事, American Life & Culture, News Articles, VOA.

Read and understand the article. If you may have any difficult words to pronounce and words you cannot understand, always ask your teacher.

*Teachers will divide the article into 2-3 paragraphs to help you understand and check the pronunciation of the difficult words.


*Read the words carefully.

  1. county fair /ˈkountē fe(ə)r/ (n.) a gathering of people to display or trade produce or other goods, to parade or display animals and often to enjoy associated carnival or funfair entertainment
  2. fixed /fikst/ (adj.) with the outcome dishonestly predetermined (of a sports contest)
  3. blame /blām/ (vb.) assign the responsibility for something bad to (someone or something)
  4. innocent /ˈinəsənt/ (adj.) not guilty of a crime or offense
  5. false /fôls/ (adj.) not according with truth or fact; not correct


Words and Their Stories: Fall Guy

* Read the text below

MP3 Download (right-click or option-click and save)

(1) Every week at this time, the Voice of America tells about popular words and expressions used in the United States. Some expressions have made a jump from sports events to everyday life. One such expression is fall guy. A fall guy is the person who someone decides will be the loser or victim.

(2) The first fall guys were men who wrestled for money. At the end of the nineteenth century, wrestling was a very popular sport in the United States. Wrestling competitions were held not only in big cities, but also at country fairs and traveling shows. As the sport became more popular, it became less and less of a sport. Many of the matches were fixed. The wrestlers knew — before the match — which one of them would be the winner.

(3) The goal in wrestling is to hold your opponent’s shoulders down against the floor. This is called a fall. Sometimes, one of the wrestlers would be paid before the match to take the fall. He would agree to be the loser…the fall guy.

(4) Today, a fall guy is anyone who is tricked into taking the blame for the crime or wrongdoing of someone else. There are fall guys in many situations — people who publicly take the blame when something goes wrong.

(5) A fall guy takes the rap for something wrong or illegal. He accepts responsibility and punishment for what someone else did. The fall guy may have been involved in the situation, but was not the person who should be blamed.

(6) The word rap has meant blame for several hundred years. The expression to take the rap first was used about one hundred years ago.

(7) Another similar expression is bum rap. A person receives a bum rap if he is found guilty of a crime…but is really innocent.

(8) Sometimes, a fall guy may not realize he is the fall guy until he is the victim of a bum rap. In that case, he may feel that he has been framed. To frame someone is to create false evidence to make an innocent person seem guilty.

(9) Some word experts say the expression to frame someone comes from the way wood must be fitted closely around a painting or photograph to frame it. In the same way, evidence must be designed perfectly if it is to frame an innocent person to make him or her seem guilty.


*Let’s talk about the article base on the questions below

  1. Have you ever experience a situation where you had to be the fall guy or you had to be the one to take the fall?
  2. Do you like wrestling? What sports do you play or like?
  3. Is it common in Japan that matches are fixed in major competitions? Why do you think so?


English Compositions

*Let’s make English compositions using the expressions from the article.

(1) Wrestling competitions were (verb) not only in big cities, but also at (noun).

EX) Wrestling competitions were held not only in big cities, but also at county fairs and traveling shows.

(2) Some (noun) have made a jump from (noun) events to everyday life.

EX) Some expressions have made a jump from sports events to everyday life.