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Showing posts with the label 18th Amendment

Scofflaw? I'll drink to that!

In 1923, a national contest kicked off in Boston to find a new word.  The definition was in place, and a $200 prize was announced once someone invented a word that would embody this definition.  The definition: “a person who drinks illegally”.  At the time, this meant pretty much everyone in the United States (and much of Canada), since Prohibition had been in place since 1919.  The contest and its prize was sponsored by Delcevare King, a banker and an enthusiastic supporter of Prohibition.

The contest was announced in newspapers across the country, but it was the Boston Globe that found the winners.  There were two winners, in fact: Globe readers Henry Irving Dale and Kate L. Butler, who independently hit upon scofflaw to inhabit this definition.  Since both came up with it, Mr. King decided it was fair that they split the prize money, giving $100 to each of them.  Theirs were only two of about 25,000 entries received.

The term caught on, and enjoyed popular currency for as long as …