Definition of scofflaw
: a contemptuous law violator
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
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.
Mr. Cuomo ordered 150 troopers to the city’s bridges and tunnels starting in January to pull over ticket scofflaws, a centerpiece of his plan to begin cashless tolling.
Uber for years has faced opposition in the U.S. and abroad from taxi companies, regulators and—increasingly—its own disgruntled drivers, who argue that the company co-founded by Mr. Kalanick is a scofflaw that rolls into...
Edward Klein ruled on smugglers, playmates and scofflaws.
Metro is testing new tactics to crack down on people who attempt to slip through fare gates without paying — and surveillance videos released by the agency show just how many of these fare scofflaws the transit agency has to contend with.
Yet the prevalence of man-spreaders — men who splay their legs and hog seats — and riders who believe their backpack needs its own seat shows that subway scofflaws are as common as rats.
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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