"Flaunt" Or "Flout"?

Flaunt and flout sound similar but have different meanings. Flaunt means to ‘display ostentatiously’, as in:

The visitors liked to flaunt their wealth.

While flout means to ‘openly disregard a rule or convention’, as in:

New recruits were growing their hair and flouting convention.

It is a common error, recorded since around the 1940s, to use flaunt when flout is intended, as in:

The young woman had been flaunting the rules and regulations.

This error is made so often that, according to the Oxford English Corpus, the things most commonly flaunted after ‘wealth’ are ‘the law’ and ‘rules’.


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