flaunt vs. flout

What is the difference between flaunt and flout?

To flaunt means “to exhibit oneself or something in an ostentatious, shameless manner,” as in:
  • “She has been flaunting her success with a series of extravagant purchases.”
  • “I hate the way he flaunts through the office every morning in his expensive Italian suits.”
The verb flout, meanwhile, means “to disregard or ignore, especially with disdain, derision, or scorn.” For example:
  • “Students caught flouting the school’s regulations will be punished accordingly.”
  • “The up-and-coming politician has made a point of flouting the conventions of the established political parties.”
Although they are not especially similar in pronunciation, flaunt is sometimes used incorrectly in instances in which flout is meant, perhaps because flaunt is more widely used and known by speakers and writers. In any case, we must be careful to only use flaunt when describing showing off, and flout when describing shirking or defying rules or laws.

Spelling Tricks and Tips

Here are a few ways to remember the difference between these two words:
  • When someone flaunts something, they might be doing it as a way to taunt other people (with their wealth, success, etc.).
  • When you flout something, you are operating outside the rules.
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