Posted by Gary on August 07, 2000
In Reply to: Answered my own question, or am I too far out on a limb here? posted by Dave Davis on August 07, 2000
: Furthering my own research, I checked out the origin of the name "Scott." Apparently:
: SCOTT (m) "a Scot" (Old English). The original meaning of the word Scot is debated, but it may mean "tattoo", so given because Scotsmen often had tattoos.
: My thoery: I'm an attorney and know that prior to modern law enforcement and record keeping, criminals were often visibly "marked" so that they quite literally carried their records with them. For example, a thief might have a "T" branded onto their right hand (some cultures would amputate a thief's hand). If "Scot" meant "tattoo" and "Scott free" means to get away with something unscathed, perhaps "Scott Free" meant to get away with something without a mark?
: Unless a wiser reader has a better theory, I'm going with this. Please chime in if I'm wrong (or if you agree!)
: - dpd -
The term scot, meaning a unit of payment, has been in use in English since at least the 12th century. The origin of the phrase is uncertain though.