scofflaw was our Word of the Day on 12/21/2013. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Recent Examples of scofflaw from the Web
Sacramento Regional Transit has begun scolding scofflaws via loudspeaker at light rail stations, and officials say the practice is causing loiterers to leave and others to straighten up their behavior.
Meanwhile, a bill aimed in part at disqualifying serious tax scofflaws from federal employment has languished since Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, introduced it in January.
Scofflaws can be fined an extra $99 for those, when police see them commit another traffic offense.
Advocates complain Trump, in taking a hardline against immigration scofflaws, is sweeping up many hardworking, taxpaying people, many of whom have raised children who are now U.S. citizens.
Investigators have used undercover work — and tips from other businesses in the industry — to identify scofflaws, records show.
A total of 280,855 violation notices were mailed, or more than 26 letters per scofflaw, the commission said.
The investigation that followed revealed the scofflaw had stolen 1,000 or more books from libraries nationwide and ripped 20,000 pages out of other books.
Take Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev, a 33-year-old hacker who resides in the Russian resort town of Anapa on the Black Sea coast, who has managed to become one of the world’s most prolific digital scofflaws under the nose of Russian authorities.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scofflaw.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
scofflaw Was Created for a Contest
In 1924, a wealthy Massachusetts Prohibitionist named Delcevare King sponsored a contest in which he asked participants to coin an appropriate word to mean "a lawless drinker." King sought a word that would cast violators of Prohibition laws in a light of shame. Two respondents came up independently with the winning word: scofflaw, formed by combining the verb scoff and the noun law. Henry Dale and Kate Butler, also of Massachusetts, split King’s $200 prize. Improbably, despite some early scoffing from language critics, scofflaw managed to pick up steam in English and expand to a meaning that went beyond its Prohibition roots, referring to one who violates any law, not just laws related to drinking.
First Known Use of scofflaw
Learn More about scofflaw
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up scofflaw? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).