Make Your Editor Cry: Get Off Scotch Free vs. Get Off Scot-Free

Make Your Editor Cry: Get Off Scotch Free vs. Get Off Scot-Free

With roots in Middle English, this idiom means that a person or group which has usually been suspected of, or tried for, some malfeasance doesn’t get the fine, sentence, or punishment that is deserved.

In 14th century Middle English, the word scot meant a tax payment or a fine. This word came from the Old Norse word skot which meant a contribution or tribute.

When you describe someone escaping without any punishments or repercussions, make sure you don’t accidentally malign a resident of Scotland, Scotch whiskey, or Scotch® tape. The correct (and hyphenated) phrase is scot-free.

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