from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A grounded metal rod placed high on a structure to prevent damage by conducting lightning to the ground.
  • noun One that attracts criticism, often in such a way that criticism is diverted from something else.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A pointed, insulated metallic rod erected to protect a building or a vessel from lightning; a lightning-conductor. ;

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A metallic conductor that is attached to a high point of a building and leads to the ground and protects the building from damage by lightning
  • noun figuratively A person or thing that is a target for negative reactions and distracts criticism from another target.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a metallic conductor that is attached to a high point and leads to the ground; protects the building from destruction by lightning
  • noun someone who is a frequent target of negative reactions and serves to distract attention from another


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