scofflaw was our Word of the Day on 12/21/2013. Hear the podcast!
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Recent Examples of scofflaw from the Web
The owners of the restaurant begged police not to shoot at any future scofflaws who might break into their kitchen.
While there are scofflaw dealers who sometimes make under-the-counter deals, that is by no means the norm.
Krantz said the legislation was primarily to clarify that the town has been immobilizing the vehicles of scofflaws, rather than towing them.
That the Marin Headlands exists as open space in which a scofflaw mother could let loose two 10-year-old city boys is something of a miracle.
There were 17 scofflaws, about half of whom were charged with misdemeanors and will face fines from $25 to $1,000.
But that’s a fraction of the 4.7 million single-family homes here. Plus, Florida property owners are flood-insurance scofflaws.
No bones about it, these scofflaws ran almost no risk of being cited by law enforcement because, well, no one complained too often or too loudly.
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.
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.
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