You might have been labelled the black sheep of your family by you or other family members. Most people think being the black sheep of the family is a bad thing. However, being the black sheep of the family is not always derogatory or negative. The black sheep of the family is typically known as the one who brings shame and disgrace to the family. This is not always true.
In the English language, black sheep is an idiom used to describe an odd or disreputable member of a group, especially within a family. The term stems from the genetic effect in sheep whereby a recessive gene occasionally manifests in the birth of a sheep with black rather than white coloring; these sheep stand out in the flock.
While the term black sheep is typically used in families, you might be interested to know that it is also used in companies, churches, and other organizations where there is one member whose behavior is different from the majority especially if that behavior seems to jeopardize the group’s image. It might also be interesting to know that in some cultures the odd family member is considered a good luck omen.
By definition, “Black sheep an expression used to describe an odd or disreputable member of a group, especially within a family. This expression gives negative implications, implying that a person is different from other family members. The expression comes from the idea that because a black sheep is in the minority, it will stand surely stand out among the majority of sheep which are white.
You might remember the nursery rhyme: Baa Baa black sheep, do you have any wool? Yes, sir, Yes, sir, three bags full. That black sheep was valuable and produced a lot of wool.
Being called a “black sheep” is based on the idea that black sheep were less valuable than white ones because it was more difficult to dye their wool different colors. It was rare for a black sheep to be among a flock of white sheep. Because the black sheep was rare, its wool is more highly prized. The black sheep is prized in certain cultures. So originally the black sheep was special, but today it has come to have a derogatory meaning.
The black sheep in a family is the one who is different or unique. However, that difference doesn’t have to be bad. For example, if everyone in your family is a drunkard and you are the one who doesn’t drink, they might call you the odd ball or the black sheep. That is not a bad thing. Another example is that you might be the only one who graduated from college. That’s a good thing, but your family could tease and taunt you about it and call you the black sheep.