Hot answers tagged

2

The person who is told off is "the whipping boy". A:"Did you tell the boss off?" B:"No, but John was with the boss when the boss made the mistake, so I told John off when he was with the boss." A:"Ah! So you used John as the boss's whipping boy." B:"Exactly - I think the boss got the message." OED: whipping-...


1

hidden agenda : an ulterior motive m-w I think the headword and its definition here could both work in your example, in fact: ulterior motive: a secret reason m-w


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible