What Does the Term “Fall Guy” Mean and Where Did the Expression Come From?

Since the 1880s, “taking a fall” has meant to be arrested or imprisoned.

To take a fall now figuratively means to be taken down for something you may or may not have done, but a fall guy, like a professional wrestler, has been paid or framed to take punishment.

On a movie set, a fall guy is a stuntman who again is paid to literally take the fall, sometimes from high buildings, for another actor.

A person who takes punishment or blame for someone else is often called a “fall guy”.