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tr.v. vic·tim·ized, vic·tim·iz·ing, vic·tim·iz·es
To make a victim of, especially:
a. To injure or kill.
b. To cheat or defraud.

vic′tim·i·za′tion (-tə-mĭ-zā′shən) n.
vic′tim·iz′er n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




ambulance chaser An overly aggressive lawyer who solicits clients in unethical or at best unprofessional ways. The term derives from those who actually made it a practice to arrive at the scene of a disaster in order to capitalize on its potential for their personal gain.

In New York City there is a style of lawyers known to the profession as “ambulance chasers,” because they are on hand wherever there is a railway wreck, or a street-car collision, or a gasoline explosion with … their offers of professional service. (Congressional Record, July 24, 1897)

Aunt Sally A victim or scapegoat; also, an object of derision or abuse. This British colloquial phrase is derived from the carnival game called “Aunt Sally,” in which the figure of a woman’s head with a pipe in its mouth is set up, the object being to knock it down by throwing missiles at it. As an object set up to be knocked down, an “Aunt Sally” is an object for attack. It is a trial balloon on the abstract level when used to refer to a proposition or hypothesis submitted for criticism.

babe in the woods See INEXPERIENCE.

carry the can To be the fall guy, to get the short end of the stick; often to carry the can back ‘to do the dirty work.’ The can of this British slang expression is said to be that containing dynamite used in blasting operations.

cat’s paw A person tricked into doing another’s dirty work; dupe or gull; lackey or flunky; often used in the phrase to be made a cat’s paw of. The term is derived from a fable in which a monkey persuades a cat to use its paw to obtain roasted chestnuts from a fire. The expression, used since the 17th century, appeared in an 1883 issue of American:

Making themselves mere catspaws to secure chestnuts for those publishers.

daughter of the horseleech Anyone, especially a woman, who is overly demanding, clinging, and critical; an exigent harpy. This expression is based on a Biblical reference:

The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. (Proverbs 30:15)

The horseleech is a large, bloodsucking parasite with a forked tongue. It was sometimes used as a medicinal leech in the medieval practice of bloodletting, i.e., removing blood from a diseased person or animal in the belief that this would effect a cure. Because of its size and voracious appetite, the horseleech was thought to be insatiable. Since each fork of its tongue is called a daughter, the expression daughter of the horseleech is appropriate in describing someone who acts like a leech, sponging off other people. The word horseleech was once used to describe a veterinarian.

fall guy A loser or victim; a scapegoat. The source of this American expression can be found in the early days of professional wrestling near the turn of the century, when contests were often fixed. One participant, the “fall guy,” would agree to feign defeat, providing the other wrestler guaranteed him gentle treatment. In modern usage, the term refers to a person who is duped into taking the blame for another’s crime or wrongdoing.

flesh-peddler A person who procures customers for sexual entertainment; a pimp. The phrase originally referred to the agent of an aspiring actor or actress who “peddled” his client’s physical and mental attributes to the show business bigwigs. The term’s disparaging slang meaning is usually used in reference to leaders of prostitution rings or other sexually based enterprises.

frame-up A scheme in which fabricated evidence causes an innocent person to be accused or convicted of a misdeed; also, put-up job. Just as a person must fit wood around a painting or photograph to frame it, evidence must be constructed or “framed” to implicate an innocent person in a crime. The expression remains in common usage.

He had seen honest men framed, and guilty men let off for political reasons. (Muiford, Cassidy’s Protégé, 1926)

get the short end of the stick To get the worst part of a transaction; to be put at a disadvantage in a bargain or contest; to be taken advantage of and made the fall guy. The precise origin of the phrase has not been found, but it has been conjectured to be vulgar in nature. Another possibility is that the phrase derives from the custom whereby opponents break a stick to determine advantageous starting positions, order, prerogatives, etc., much the way a coin is often tossed today. This concept is preserved in the superstition surrounding the breaking of a wishbone—the person with the longer portion being the one whose wish will be fulfilled. Another possibility is that the expression refers to the practice of drawing straws or sticks to determine which person among several will be given an unsavory task. The one drawing the short straw or stick is the “winner.”

give the shaft To victimize, to take unfair advantage of; to deceive, trick, or cheat; to treat in an abusive, harsh manner; to give someone a raw deal. This relatively new American slang expression is used figuratively and is thought to have an obscene, taboo derivation.

gold digger A woman who becomes romantically involved with a man, usually rich, middle-aged, and not terribly attractive, solely for his money and the lavish gifts he bestows on her in return for her sexual favors.

“Jerry” Lamar is one of a band of pretty little salamanders known to Broadway as “gold diggers,” because they “dig” for the gold of their gentlemen friends and spend it being good to their mothers and their pet dogs. (B. Mantle, in Best Plays of 1919-20, 1920)

This U.S. slang term dates from the early part of this century.

guinea pig One who is manipulated by another; a scapegoat or patsy; a human being or animal used in scientific or medical experimentation. This expression is derived from the popular laboratory rodent of the same name.

In some of my experiments I used other athletes as guinea pigs. (R. Bannister, First Four Minutes, 1955)

In Great Britain guinea pig is also used to describe a person in a high business position who exercises little or no authority. It is the practice there for certain distinguished individuals to allow their names to be listed among the directors of a company, thus adding prestige to the firm. The expression may have originated from the token annual fee, a guinea (a pound plus a shilling), paid to such people.

henpecked To be nagged at constantly or completely dominated by one’s wife. Chickens instinctively develop a pecking order—a hierarchy in which the stronger birds assert their authority and dominance over the weaker ones. Once a chicken has established its position at the top of the pecking order, it may peck at the others with no fear of reprisal. Thus, this expression likens the pecking of a dominant hen to the eternal yammering of a harpy.

An obedient henpecked husband. (Washington Irving, Sketch Book, 1820)

holding the bag Bearing the sole responsibility or blame; tricked, duped, made the scapegoat or fall guy; often left holding the bag. The British equivalent is holding the baby. For both versions the idea is that what was to have been shared responsibility ends up as the task of a single person. Frequently the implication is that one has been deserted or double-crossed. One explanation claims the victim is given a bag to hold or watch, thus distracting his attention from the party about to desert. Another theory suggests that the victim has been given a bag of money or goods according to some prearranged scheme, but finds himself flimflammed, with only an empty bag, after his fellows have made off. The former seems more plausible for that meaning related to responsibility; the latter, for that related to trickery.

looking for a dog to kick Seeking someone to blame, looking for a scapegoat or whipping boy. This expression, apparently first used by American cowboys, is based on the psychological premise that people often tend to vent their frustrations on objects, animals, or persons whose status is inferior to their own.

lounge lizard A ladies’ man; a man who searches for a wealthy woman to support him; a gigolo; also, parlor snake. This expression originated during the 1920s, when certain posh clubs hired handsome young men to dance with and otherwise entertain older women. The term subsequently evolved its connotation of an idle man who seeks a rich patroness in plush hotels, cafes, and other wealthy establishments.

Formal recognition of those firmly attached appendages of Society, the lounge-lizards. (Punch, November, 1926)

The term is sometimes used today to describe a man who, as a fixture of the singles’ bars, tries to seduce any woman he meets.

man of straw A (often imaginery) person, object, or abstract entity set up for the purpose of being knocked down; a front, a diversionary tactic, a red herring; a nonentity, an ineffectual person, a cipher; also, now rarely, an impoverished person, an indigent. The common denominator of these various meanings of the term is the sense of straw as a thing of little worth, substance, or solidity, a sense current in the language since the time of Chaucer. Apparently the original “man of straw” was a man of little substance or means in the monetary sense, i.e., poor. Such were wont to sell their services as witnesses, willing to act as perjurers to obtain money. Supposedly the sign of their availability was a straw in their shoe. Thus, “man of straw” or the equally common straw man came to mean one who let himself be used for others’ purposes. It is this latter sense which survives today, though the “man of straw” so exploited may be imaginary or fictitious. The phrase first appeared in print in the late 16th century. Thomas DeQuincey used it in its current sense in 1840 (Works).

It is always Socrates and Crito, or Socrates and Phraedrus, … in fact, Socrates and some man of straw or good-humoured nine-pin set up to be bowled down as a matter of course.

pigeon An innocent, naïve, or gullible person; a dupe; the victim of a swindle. The pigeon is a bird easily captured in a snare or trap which would be avoided by most other birds.

I was instantly looked up to as an impending pigeon … and every preparation was made for the plucking. (The Sporting Magazine, 1794)

scapegoat A victim; a butt or Aunt Sally; one who bears the blame for the misdeeds of others. This word is of Biblical origin. On the Day of Atonement two goats were chosen by lot, one to be sent alive into the wilderness carrying the sins of the people upon its back, the other to be offered as a pure sacrifice to the Lord. According to the OED, the term was apparently invented by William Tyndale in his 1530 translation of the Bible.

And Hadron cast lots over the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and another for a scapegoat. (Leviticus 16:8)

The modern scapegoat combines the roles of the two Biblical goats. He is blamed for the wrongdoings or folly of another person or group, and is sacrificed in a figurative sense. The fate of a scapegoat is usually to be treated as an outsider, the object of ridicule or cruel indifference.

sponge on To live off another’s earnings; to accept hospitality but not return it; to borrow money and not pay it back; to leech or mooch; also, sponge off. This expression alludes to the absorptive properties of sponges. The phrase maintains widespread use today.

It was an easy matter to abandon his own income, as he was able to sponge on that of another person. (Anthony Trollope, The Warden, 1855)

A person who leads such a parasitic life is called a sponge or a sponger.

suck the hind teat To get a raw deal; to get the short end of the stick; to be at a disadvantage. This expression is derived from the supposition that the rearmost nipple of a domestic animal supplies less nourishment to offspring than the other nipples. Thus, the animal that draws from the hind teat will be the weakest of the litter.

take the rap See PUNISHMENT.

throw to the wolves To sacrifice ruthlessly another person to protect one-self or one’s interests; to make someone a scapegoat to divert criticism from one-self. One who is being pursued by a wolf might throw food or other objects to divert the animal’s attention, and thereby escape unnoticed. In this expression the “wolf represents any opposition or threat and the “bait” is a person—friend, colleague, subordinate —who becomes an unwitting victim.

wear the cap and bells See HUMOROUSNESS.

whipping-boy A scapegoat; one who takes the blame for the wrongdoings of another. The origin of this term is the 17th-century British custom of transferring the punishment merited by a young prince or royal personage to another youth called a “whipping-boy.” The two boys were playmates and were educated together. William Murray is reputed to have been the first whipping-boy, receiving floggings for the son of King James I. Eventually the custom was abolished, but the term remained in figurative use.

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.victimization - adversity resulting from being made a victimvictimization - adversity resulting from being made a victim; "his victimization infuriated him"
adversity, hard knocks, hardship - a state of misfortune or affliction; "debt-ridden farmers struggling with adversity"; "a life of hardship"
2.victimization - an act that exploits or victimizes someone (treats them unfairly)victimization - an act that exploits or victimizes someone (treats them unfairly); "capitalistic exploitation of the working class"; "paying Blacks less and charging them more is a form of victimization"
mistreatment - the practice of treating (someone or something) badly; "he should be punished for his mistreatment of his mother"
blaxploitation - the exploitation of black people (especially with regard to stereotyped roles in movies)
sexploitation - the commercial exploitation of sex or sexuality or explicit sexual material; "sexploitation by advertisers is notorious"
colonialism - exploitation by a stronger country of weaker one; the use of the weaker country's resources to strengthen and enrich the stronger country
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


An act of cheating:
Informal: flimflam.
Slang: gyp.
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


[ˌvɪktɪmaɪˈzeɪʃən] Npersecución f; (= retaliation, punishment) → castigo m, represalias fpl
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˌvɪktɪmaɪˈzeɪʃən] victimisation (British) nbrimades fpl
the victimization of sb → des brimades à l'encontre de qn
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


nungerechte Behandlung; (= harassment)Schikanierung f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˌvɪktɪmaɪˈzeɪʃn] npersecuzione f
to be the subject of victimization by sb → essere oggetto di persecuzione da parte di qn
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995
References in periodicals archive ?
Odd ratios for School Violence Victimization among Male and Female Students Based on Prosocial Behavior Involvement
Large regional studies looking at both Latin America and other low- and middle-income countries worldwide show wide variation in the prevalence of bullying victimization (5, 6).
A cross sectional study was conducted to assess the role of dark triads in bullying and victimization behavior in 479 students (boys = 245, girls = 234) (M age = 15.11, SD = 1.24).
According to the study, weight-based victimization among sexual and gender minority youth is associated with increased odds of alcohol use, binge drinking, marijuana use, and cigarette use.
FAPUASA demanded an independent inquiry from outside IIU to investigate the alleged financial victimization and malpractices prevailing in IIU including the award of BS-IR degree to the son of President IIUI in violation of university rules and in his absentia.
Objective: To determine the prevalence of peer victimization in school children, its relationship with depressive symptoms and academic functioning along with demographic differences (gender and grade) among study variables.
LAHORE -- Pakistan Muslim League leader and Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan has said that why ex premier Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz had kept in Adiala Jail adding who is involved in political victimization of Nawaz Sharif.
KARACHI -- Shah Abdul Latif University Teachers' Association (SALUTA) Khairpur on Wednesday took out a rally against illegal appointment of Registrar and victimization of teachers, particularly Ishrat Ali Mirani, Assistant Professor and Member Syndicate, who has actively been raising voice against corruption, nepotism, favouritism and fighting for the rights of teaching community.
The first quarter of 2018 nationwide survey found 6.6 percent or an estimated 1.5 million families reporting victimization by any of the common crimes, such as pickpocket or robbery of personal property, break-ins, carnapping, and physical violence within the past six months.
This was one point lower than 7.6 percent or 1,700,000 average in December 2017, but SWS said it's .05 point above 6.1 percent annual average victimization of crimes for 2017.
TUESDAY, June 19, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Firearm victimization is associated with increased levels of distress, according to a research letter published online June 19 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Crime Victimization: A Comprehensive Overview, 2nd Edition