What does the idiom "the black sheep of the family" mean?

The expression the black sheep of the family is one of the idioms that often finds a place in our literature and enriches our language. However, its meaning is not fully understood, so it is sometimes used in the wrong situations. Please review the explanation carefully for the correct use of the the black sheep of the family idiom.

Meaning of "the black sheep of the family"


The phrase 'the black sheep of the family' is an idiom which is used to refer to a person who is regarded as a disgrace to their family or community. It is a person who is seen as different from their relatives and who does not fit in socially or morally. They may be seen as an outcast or rebel, or they may just not conform to the norms that the rest of the family follows.


The phrase 'black sheep of the family' has its origins in farming. Farmers used to segregate their flock of sheep into white and black breeds. The black sheep were regarded as being worth less than their white counterparts, and were seen as being unusable for breeding. As such, there was a sense of worthlessness associated with the black sheep, and this term eventually transferred to humans who were seen as being a disgrace to their families.


This phrase is used in a variety of contexts, from humorous to serious. It is often used to describe someone who does not fit in with the rest of their family, such as a rebellious child or an adult who does not subscribe to the same values as their parents. Some people also use it to refer to themselves if they feel that they don't fit in with their family or group.

Example Sentences

  • His parents are very well-respected in the community, but John is the black sheep of the family and has caused them a lot of embarrassment.
  • Charlie doesn't fit in with his siblings, he's always been the black sheep of the family.
  • I feel like the black sheep of my group of friends, they all have similar interests and I'm the only one who doesn't.
  • She was always the black sheep of the family, not wanting to follow the same path as everybody else.

The meanings of the words in the "the black sheep of the family" idiom

Idioms with similar meaning

"Don't judge a book by its cover" is an English idiom that means you shouldn't make assumptions about someone or something based solely on its appearance. In Japanese, the similar idiom is "Hana yori dango," which translates to "Dumplings rather than flowers." This idiom means that substance is more important than appearance.


No comment has been written about the black sheep of the family yet, you can write the first comment and share your thoughts with our other visitors.
Leave a Reply