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flaunt

[flawnt]
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verb (used without object)
  1. to parade or display oneself conspicuously, defiantly, or boldly.
  2. to wave conspicuously in the air.
verb (used with object)
  1. to parade or display ostentatiously: to flaunt one's wealth.
  2. to ignore or treat with disdain: He was expelled for flaunting military regulations.
noun
  1. the act of flaunting.
  2. Obsolete. something flaunted.

Origin of flaunt

1560–70; of obscure origin; compare Norwegian dialect flanta to show off
Related formsflaunt·er, nounflaunt·ing·ly, adverbun·flaunt·ed, adjectiveun·flaunt·ing, adjectiveun·flaunt·ing·ly, adverb
Can be confusedflaunt flout (see usage note at the current entry)

Synonyms

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3. flourish, exhibit, vaunt, show off.

Usage note

4. The use of flaunt to mean “to ignore or treat with disdain” ( He flaunts community standards with his behavior ) is strongly objected to by many usage guides, which insist that only flout can properly express this meaning. From its earliest appearance in English in the 16th century, flaunt has had the meanings “to display oneself conspicuously, defiantly, or boldly” in public and “to parade or display ostentatiously.” These senses approach those of flout, which dates from about the same period: “to treat with disdain, scorn, or contempt; scoff at; mock.” A sentence like Once secure in his new social position, he was able to flaunt his lower-class origins can thus be ambiguous in current English. Considering the similarity in pronunciation of the two words, it is not surprising that flaunt has assumed the meanings of flout and that this use has appeared in the speech and edited writing of even well-educated, literate persons. Nevertheless, many regard the senses of flaunt and flout as entirely unrelated and concerned speakers and writers still continue to keep them separate.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for flaunt

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Into what quagmires does it not lead those who flaunt it to impress you!

  • He is angry that Eugene and Pauline should flaunt their happiness in her sad eyes.

    Floyd Grandon's Honor</p>

    Amanda Minnie Douglas

  • At first I thought it might possibly be to flaunt my lost grandeur in my face.

    The Prairie Mother

    Arthur Stringer

  • Well, they've gone out together to flaunt their monstrous connection!

    The Outcry

    Henry James

  • We were not as Phorenice to flaunt endearments before others.

    The Lost Continent

    C. J. Cutcliffe Hyne


British Dictionary definitions for flaunt

flaunt

verb
  1. to display (possessions, oneself, etc) ostentatiously; show off
  2. to wave or cause to wave freely; flutter
noun
  1. the act of flaunting
Derived Formsflaunter, nounflauntingly, adverb

Word Origin

C16: perhaps of Scandinavian origin; compare Norwegian dialect flanta to wander about

usage

Flaunt is sometimes wrongly used where flout is meant: they must be prevented from flouting (not flaunting) the law
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for flaunt

v.

1560s, "to display oneself in flashy clothes," of unknown origin; perhaps a variant of flout or vaunt. It looks French, but it corresponds to no known French word. Transitive sense is from 1827. Related: Flaunted; flaunting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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