What does it mean to get off scot-free?
This phrase has nothing to do with Scottish people, but is related to the Old Norse word skot, which was a municipal tax dating back to the 13th century. Someone who was scot-free was exempt from paying this tax. Later the word was applied to money owed for entertainment, as for drinks at a tavern. Someone who didn’t pay for his drinks was said to have received them scot-free. It is now appropriate to use the term whenever someone goes without penalty, loss, or harm.
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