- 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
- US informal a person who habitually flouts or violates the law, esp one who fails to pay debts or answer summonses
Word Origin and History for scofflaw
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.).