by 1822 in figurative sense of "member of some team guilty of offensive conduct and unlike the other users," supposedly because a proper black colored sheep had wool that could not be dyed and was hence really worth less. But one black colored sheep in a flock was considered all the best by shepherds in Sussex, Somerset, Kent, Derbyshire. Baa Baa Ebony Sheep nursery rhyme's first-known publication is in "Tommy Thumb's Pretty song-book" (c.1744).
a careless and unprincipled reprobate
- sheep with a black coat
Black Sheep [Jonathan King]
The only brother not to declare outright war on him, Kiki was a distant second to Andre in his tepid support of their black sheep of a young brother.