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If A always defeats B, A is B's nemesis. If B always loses to his rival A, B is A's ____?

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Biyatch? (Sorry) – Ernest Friedman-Hill Apr 22 '14 at 2:29
What they are called depends on your POV but I know I am the infracaninophile – Third News Apr 22 '14 at 3:45
Who wouldn't save a puppy in traffic? ;-) – Third News Apr 22 '14 at 12:30
continual annoyance. – Jim Apr 22 '14 at 14:17
Can you clarify your question? In what way is B not also A's nemesis? So much antagonism. – Elliott Frisch Apr 22 '14 at 14:52

B is A's punching bag.

B is A's whipping boy.





"Mark" and "punching bag" are the least offensive. "Mark" is the least informal.


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I agree with @Beta that "whipping boy" means a proxy for punishment. And "whipping boy" has some nice synonyms for the given situation. And "Tottenham use Fulham as a whipping boy" works. – M. K. Hunter Apr 22 '14 at 10:43
"Punching bag" would be the best fit, I think -- it directly implies that B is incapable of putting up any resistance in a fight. – Blazemonger Apr 22 '14 at 14:25

I think the best term depends strongly on how the conflict between A and B comes about.

If the weaker B is the instigator of the conflict despite being repeatedly defeated, they might be called a "challenger" or "contender".

On the other hand, if the stronger A is picking on B who is no threat to them, B might be described as "victim", "goat", "whipping-boy" or any number of other more offensive epithets (including, as Earnest Friedman-Hill commented, variations on "bitch").

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"Whipping boy" means a proxy for punishment, not someone who loses every fight. – Beta Apr 22 '14 at 4:24
Add perennial, traditional, usual or the like to express an ongoing relationship. – Potatoswatter Apr 22 '14 at 4:42
I think that current colloquial usage of the term "whipping boy" is a bit broader than the literal people the dictionary definitions describe. It has to do with why A is beating B. If the fight is one-sided and A gives a contrived explanation for instigating the abuse, you could describe B as a "whipping-boy" because the reasoning for the abuse is just as flimsy as the reasons for beating the historic whipping boys for a prince's bad behavior (we generally don't believe in the Divine Right of Kings these days). – Blckknght Apr 22 '14 at 4:50

If A always defeats B, A is B's nemesis. If B always loses to his contender A, B is A's unfortunate rival, or simply "A's rival."

rival: a person or thing that tries to defeat or be more successful than another.

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Different words for different settings:

  • in a team sport: cakewalk

  • on the playground: my bitch

  • funny example: Washington Generals

  • an older phrase that still holds up : patsy

  • gentleman's term: pawn

  • if player A also wins easily and plays around: toy or puppet

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A pawn sounds more to me like someone that is on your side, but expendable. Similar with toy or puppet, but those are leaning the right way. – Cruncher Apr 22 '14 at 13:48
@Cruncher - that is one definition. Slang just means someone that you easily control. Doesn't have to be on your side. – RyeɃreḁd Apr 22 '14 at 16:42

The one not expected to win — usually based on the previous record — is called the underdog.

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I think it is a straw man (or a straw dog). Though, it is usually used as an argument.

a weak or imaginary argument or opponent that is set up to be easily defeated

From Wikipedia:

The usage of the term in rhetoric suggests a human figure made of straw which is easily knocked down or destroyed, such as a military training dummy, scarecrow, or effigy.

The rhetorical technique is sometimes called an Aunt Sally in the UK, with reference to a traditional fairground game in which objects are thrown at a fixed target.

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This really doesn't fit. A straw man is strictly something made up, that is easily challenged. – Cruncher Apr 22 '14 at 13:47
@Crunched: The definition fits and it can be used metaphorically. Though this sense is not that common but it is not completely unrelated to the idea. – ermanen Apr 22 '14 at 14:14

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