As a lot of this blog is about writing, I wanted to write a regular article on my favourite forgotten words. You know the type of thing, those poor lost words that sit at the back of our minds, gathering dust, having been discovered years ago in literary classics like Dickens, or Austen. They are the spices of the literary world, but I refuse to let them sit in a cupboard and be ignored until they go out of date! Let’s bring them back!

This month’s word is: SCOFFLAW!


A person who flouts the law, especially by failing to comply with a law that is difficult to enforce effectively.

I have to confess I came across this word while watching Only Connect on TV. It was one of the clues and I had no idea what it meant. When the presenter (the lovely Victoria Coren-Mitchell) told me I thought it was brilliant and looked up the technical definition.

What I love most about this definition is the phrase, ‘especially by failing to comply with a law that is difficult to enforce effectively.’ I started thinking what this might be and a quick Google search came up with lots of examples, of which, the following are my favourites:

  • Cyclists jumping red-lights
  • Using a mobile phone while driving
  • Taking selfies while driving! (What kind of an idiot does that?)
  • Flouting other road laws

Now, I’m not perfect but I mean, come on, really? Taking selfies while driving? For me, that takes stupidity to a whole new level.

Also, it turns out the word is still used but mostly by lawyers and legal wranglers. Perhaps we can get it back into the general population? Not that I’m saying we should go around accusing one and other of being one!

Had you heard of the word Scofflaw before you read this post? Are you a law breaker? (Please don’t tell me you’ve been taking driving selfies!) Leave me a comment below and let me know!