- a person who flouts the law, especially one who fails to pay fines owed.
- a person who flouts rules, conventions, or accepted practices.
Origin of scofflaw
Related Words for scofflawdelinquent, culprit, offender, gangster, mobster, hooligan, fugitive, crook, racketeer, felon, hoodlum, scofflaw, thug, convict, lawbreaker, malefactor, outlaw, hood, con, jailbird
- US informal a person who habitually flouts or violates the law, esp one who fails to pay debts or answer summonses
1924, from scoff (v.) + law (n.). The winning entry in a national contest during Prohibition to coin a word to characterize a person who drinks illegally, chosen from more than 25,000 entries; the $200 winning prize was split between two contestants who sent in the word separately: Henry Irving Dale and Miss Kate L. Butler. Other similar attempts did not stick, cf. pitilacker (1926), winning entry in a contest by the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to establish a scolding word for one who mistreats animals (submitted by Mrs. M. McIlvaine Bready of Mickleton, N.J.).