"scoff" (tr.)

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Tue Dec 15 19:10:01 UTC 2009

On a final exam paper a student wrote, "But the recipient of the poem scoffs him: 'Proudly thou scorn'st my World-out-wearing Rimes.'"  That transitive "scoff" seems very odd to me; I would have assumed it's a mistake for "scorns" if the actual word "scorn'st" didn't follow immediately in the quoted line. However, the OED does give transitive "scoff," marked "Obs. exc. U.S.," with the most recent attestation from 1892. Google shows a slender few thousand instances of "scoff(s) him/her/them."


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