Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

Flaunt or flout?

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Look at these headlines:

GMB fears Asda may flaunt strike rules (Retail Week magazine)

O’Neill warns Rebels not to flaunt recruiting rules (The Sydney Morning Herald)

AT&T says Google flaunts FCC rules (Online Media Daily website)

In all three examples, the word ‘flaunt’ has been used incorrectly instead of ‘flout’. This is a very common error as explained by Oxford Dictionaries.

Flout means to openly disregard a rule or convention.

Flaunt means to display something ostentatiously, for example:

They flaunted their wealth.

He flaunted his new car.

More commonly confused words and phrases


3 Responses

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  1. My mnemonic aid — hey, it works for me — is to think of my ostentatious “aunt” flaunting her wealth and finery. For flout, I think of “outside” the law.

    Michael Farrell

    03/04/2010 at 1:36 pm

    • That’s good! Thanks, Michael.


      03/04/2010 at 1:38 pm

  2. A recent example of the wrong use of ‘flaunting’ from the Guardian:

    An occasional offender made an appearance when we said: “Argentina emerged from its economic wreckage by flaunting IMF guidelines”. That should have been flouting, meaning to scoff at or show disregard for.


    05/01/2011 at 5:13 pm

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