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No matter what had really happened, this person will always blame and find an appearing logical/thought out way/strategy to it that, fundamentally, it's the other person who was the cause for all the trouble AND everything else that came from this trouble as well and from the next and so on.

No (slang) words like "jerk", "*sshole" etc. please.

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I'd be quite happy with He's a buck-passer, but that seems to have surprisingly little currency. – FumbleFingers Jul 18 '14 at 19:52
.......... him. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 18 '14 at 22:11
Often, such a person is called a "manager" or a "politician". – Dan Jul 19 '14 at 4:12
@FumbleFingers Buck-passer relies on the person having had 'the buck' not just on dishing out blame (where the 'disher' is not to blame) – Frank Jul 20 '14 at 7:29
@Frank: I suppose much depends on whether the person concerned is already being blamed by others (and trying to pass the buck, re-assign blame/responsibility to someone else), or simply likes finding other people to blame regardless of whether he personally might otherwise be "in the frame". In the latter case, I'd just say he's a shit-stirrer. – FumbleFingers Jul 20 '14 at 12:31

11 Answers 11

Blameshifter fits the bill.

Main Entry:


Part of Speech: n

Definition: the act of transferring responsibility for an error or problem to another; also written blame shifting


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There is no such word from what I gather. Can anyone provide a dictionary reference for the word "blameshifter"? – aaa90210 Jul 20 '14 at 21:12
Fair enough. I only documented blameshifting. – GMB Jul 20 '14 at 22:48

A 'blamer'. It's slang for someone who always blames others. e.g. 'My mother was a blamer from her early teens.' It tends to be applied to senior citizens. I don't make these things up. There seems to be a correlation between chronic intermeddlers (yentas) and chronic blamers. Often the blamer and the yenta are the same person.

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  1. a finger-pointer - someone quick to divert attention or blame to someone else

  2. defensive (though that's more general than just blaming others)

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I would say buck-passer is correct.

Anther class of idioms for someone who is difficult to blame involves variations around the word "teflon"

"He wears a teflon coat"

"He is made from teflon"

Because nothing (including blame) sticks to teflon. However, this does not necessarily involve the subject shifting blame, they just somehow always escape blame somehow or other.

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'Buckpasser' doesn't work: it simply means to pass (usually work) onto other people, when you should do it yourself. It's not specific enough for blaming other for things. 'Blameshifter' works better, or 'rationalizer', although I don't know there's a single word for all the things the OP is trying to describe. – Pete855217 Jul 20 '14 at 6:59
@Pete855217 I disagree, I think it means to pass blame or responsibility onto someone else. I have never even heard of the word "blameshifter" being used to describe someone - it sounds like a made up word. thefreedictionary.com/buck-passer – aaa90210 Jul 20 '14 at 7:25
-1 for Buckpasser, you can only be a buck-passer if you have the buck. Simply blaming someone isn't passing the buck. @Pete855217 I agree with aaa90201, buck-passing is passing blame onto someone else (when you have the blame on yourself). Where is it common to mean 'passing work that should do yourself to other people'? – Frank Jul 20 '14 at 7:32

That person is 'an adept at scapegoating'.

scapegoat (ˈskeɪpˌɡəʊt )



  1. a person made to bear the blame for others

  2. (Old Testament) a goat used in the ritual of Yom Kippur (Leviticus 16); it was symbolically laden with the sins of the Israelites and sent into the wilderness to be destroyed


  1. (transitive) to make a scapegoat of

Word Origin C16: from escape + goat, coined by William Tyndale to translate Biblical Hebrew azāzēl (probably) goat for Azazel, mistakenly thought to mean 'goat that escapes'


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Consider, blame artist

Man has forever been a blame artist. We specialize in blaming others for our personal failures and even our individual irresponsibility. To the extent that even when a man has run down into a state no different from a carriage horse only good enough for haulage, he fails to recognize that. Instead he continues to see the other man plowing by hand as the slave. The hassle between the slave, servant and master is longstanding.

Tug of War

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You could call someone that who manages to be appear blameless (not getting the blame). But "artful dodger" is inappropriate for a person who always blames others. In italian we call him a scaricabarile and here dizionari.repubblica.it/Italiano-Inglese/S/scaricabarile.php – Mari-Lou A Mar 16 at 9:53
@Mari-LouA In French, we say "renvoyer la balle" wordreference.com/fren/renvoyer%20la%20balle – Elian Mar 16 at 10:13

Perhaps rationalizer? According to ODO, rationalize means

Attempt to explain or justify (one’s own or another’s behavior or attitude) with logical, plausible reasons, even if these are not true or appropriate

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But even if you're, without blame involved, try to to think logically about things you're a rationalizer as well, right? Isn't rationalizer easily to be confused with simply thinking logically without anything else, like blame? – user76935 Jul 18 '14 at 20:00
While one of the meanings of rationalize is to think logically about something, it is more often used to describe a process that strains logic to find justification. It also can be used for tortured explanations even when there is no specific blame involved. – bib Jul 18 '14 at 20:08
As someone has said, rationalization is the skin of reason stuffed with a lie. – GMB Jul 18 '14 at 22:16

Narcissist. Period. Although sociopath is also correct...kind of the same thing I suppose.

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Narcissism does not describe the behaviour, which I think is what the OP is asking for. That is, a word which can be used to label such a person so that others will know what you are talking about. Is it that you think anybody who behaves that selfishly must be a narcissist? Sociopath is more useful but is still, I think, more broad than what is asked for. – itsbruce Nov 21 '14 at 13:53

Projection (Psychological)

1) An unconscious self-defence mechanism characterised by a person unconsciously attributing their own issues onto someone or something else as a form of delusion and denial.

2) A way to blame others for your own negative thoughts by repressing them and then attributing them to someone else. Due to the sorrowful nature of delusion and denial it is very difficult for the target to be able to clarify the reality of the situation.

3) A way to transfer guilt for your own thoughts, emotions and actions onto another as a way of not admitting your guilt to yourself. Projection (Psychological)

1) Believing that someone else does not like you when it is indeed you that does not like them. By projecting this onto another you ascribe the negativity of the thoughts/feelings onto them so your ego does not have to admit the deficiency of your own thought processes.

2) A person in a relationship meets someone else out of spite for their partner and then forms an attachment to the person they have met; they then accuse their partner of infidelity (or at least considering the idea) so that they do not have to admit to themselves or anyone else that they have already cheated in their own mind.

3) Repeatedly attacking someone with the ideas that they are: Cold, Arrogant, Selfish, Anti-social and Negative as a way of not admitting to yourself that these appear to be some of your most dominant traits.

4) Telling someone who is clearly in love with you that they are “unworthy of your love”. When in reality you have doubts within yourself that you are worthy of any love and due to this will attack and destroy any true love that exists towards and/or within you.

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Well, unfortunately, to so cleverly dodge responsibility/blame AND effectively shift it onto someone else, (and let's just call it like it is without the sugarcoating - that's lying; the worst kind), is a component of the group of behaviors associated with sociopathy - especially when this behavior is the norm, (chronic), and not the exception. It is plausible, even likely, this person is a sociopath. At the very least, he/she is 'borderline'.

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I would say that person is very punitive as a colloquialism. However, technically, there might be a personality disorder that fits your description.

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'Punitive' means something completely different...just someone who tends to punish a lot. – Pete855217 Jul 20 '14 at 7:01

protected by tchrist Dec 13 '14 at 17:36

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