A bum rap

Posted by R. Berg on April 22, 2003

In Reply to: A bum rap posted by EE on April 22, 2003

: What is the meaning of giving someone or something a bum rap and its origin? Thanks.

To frame an innocent person; to accuse falsely of a crime or to convict wrongly of a crime.

Dictionary of American Slang, 1960, has "an instance of being identified, arrested, charged, tried, sentenced, punished, or placed in prison as a lawbreaker" as one meaning of "rap"; origin probably in 1920s. Meanings of "bum" include "false, untrue; inaccurate, unreliable."