Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Yet Another Confusing Word Pair

Courtesy of Merriam-Webster Online

Flout:  to treat with contemptuous disregard : scorn, "flouting the rules"


intransitive verb
1 : to display or obtrude oneself to public notice; "a great flaunting crowd" (Charles Dickens)
2 : to wave or flutter showily; "The flag flaunts in the breeze."

transitive verb
1 : to display ostentatiously or impudently : parade; "Flaunting his superiority," or, "If you've got it, flaunt it."
Miss Grammar reports with regret that it is gradually becoming acceptable to misuse flaunt as a synonym for flout.  But of course, you, not wishing to contribute to the erosion of the English language, will want to avoid doing that.


JLB said...

Somehow, it never occurred to me to confuse the two. I guess my mother's just too good a teacher. :)

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

She must be, and good for her!

I do from time to time find someone using "flaunt" when they meant "flout".

Apophatically Speaking said...

Well, well, aren't we flaunting our flouting of the English language?

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Well, the only thing we can do with Miss Grammar is just nod and smile, 'cause there's no doubt she's a real stickler when it comes to language; in fact, Miss Grammar is a language Nazi.

I passed on your comment to her and her reply was, "Mea culpa!" which just shows one can do the same thing in Latin.