Words at Play : Top 10 Commonly Confused Words, Vol. 1
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#1: Flaunt/Flout

Question:

If you treat convention with disdain, are you flouting or flaunting the rules?

Answer:

flouting

How to Remember It:

Think of whistling – or actually, playing the flute – instead of doing what's expected.

Why? Because flout probably originates in the Middle English word flouten, "to play the flute." It's not clear how a word for playing the flute evolved into a synonym of mock and insult (the original meaning of flout), but here's a guess: in the hands of some entertainers, the flute can project a teasing, even mocking, carefree air.

By the way, using flaunt in sentences like the one above is now standard, although many folks still consider it incorrect.

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