Lookups spiked 3,100% on December 3rd, 2018
Scot-free attracted considerably more attention than it usually does on December 3rd, 2018, after President Trump employed the word with an uncommon orthographic form, in a tweet.
....his wife and father-in-law (who has the money?) off Scott Free. He lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2018
The word does not mean, the above citation notwithstanding, "an absence of Scotts; free from the machinations of Messrs. Baio, Pippen, Caan, and Joplin." We enter the word with a single T, and define it as "completely free from obligation, harm, or penalty."
Scot-free has been in English use since the early 16th century, and comes from the word scot, meaning "money assessed or paid."
Asymbolus, he that commeth to a bankette, without appoyntment, an unboden gest. also he that gothe scot free, and payeth nothinge.
— Thomas Elyot, Bibliotheca Eliotae Eliotis librarie, 1542
Trend Watch is a data-driven report on words people are looking up at much higher search rates than normal. While most trends can be traced back to the news or popular culture, our focus is on the lookup data rather than the events themselves.