Flaunt vs. flout

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To flaunt is to exhibit or parade (something) in an ostentatious manner. To flout is (1) to show contempt for or to scorn, or (2) to contemptuously ignore (especially rules or conventions). These verbs are often confused due to their similarity in sound, but they share no common ground.


The most common mixup involving these words is the use of flaunt in place of flout, as in these instances:

[T]he cyclists will sometimes flaunt the law and say their name is “Donald Duck” rather than giving their true identity. [Boston Globe]

The deputy head of the new government … threatened a special operation to depose him should he continue to flaunt the authority of the new regime. [DW World]

And these writers use the words in their usual senses:

I’d much rather proudly display my library card than flaunt an iPad. [NY Times]

Anyone caught repeatedly flouting hygiene rules should be sacked. [Press and Journal]

In the government school where Pooja studies with her younger sister, kids don’t flaunt cell phones or make fun of the kid whose family has a mere Maruti 800. [An Indian Muslim]

Fines would increase for commercial and residential buildings whose tenants flout recycling laws. [NY Post]