\ ˈflau̇t How to pronounce flout (audio) \
flouted; flouting; flouts

Definition of flout

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to treat with contemptuous disregard : scorn flouting the rules

intransitive verb

: to indulge in scornful behavior Ah, you may flout and turn up your faces— Robert Browning



Definition of flout (Entry 2 of 2)

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from flout


flouter noun

Synonyms for flout

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for flout


scoff, jeer, gibe, fleer, sneer, flout mean to show one's contempt in derision or mockery. scoff stresses insolence, disrespect, or incredulity as motivating the derision. scoffed at their concerns jeer suggests a coarser more undiscriminating derision. the crowd jeered at the prisoners gibe implies taunting either good-naturedly or in sarcastic derision. hooted and gibed at the umpire fleer suggests grinning or grimacing derisively. the saucy jackanapes fleered at my credulity sneer stresses insulting by contemptuous facial expression, phrasing, or tone of voice. sneered at anything romantic flout stresses contempt shown by refusal to heed. flouted the conventions of polite society

Flaunt vs. Flout: Usage Guide


Although the "treat contemptuously" sense of flaunt undoubtedly arose from confusion with flout, the contexts in which it appears cannot be called substandard. meting out punishment to the occasional mavericks who operate rigged games, tolerate rowdyism, or otherwise flaunt the law — Oscar Lewis observed with horror the flaunting of their authority in the suburbs, where men … put up buildings that had no place at all in a Christian commonwealth — Marchette Chute in our profession … very rarely do we publicly chastise a colleague who has flaunted our most basic principles — R. T. Blackburn, AAUP Bull. If you use it, however, you should be aware that many people will consider it a mistake. Use of flout in the sense of "flaunt, parade" is found occasionally. "The proper pronunciation," the blonde said, flouting her refined upbringing, "is pree feeks" — Mike Royko

Did You Know?


Watch out when using "flaunt" and "flout." Critics have been complaining about the confusion of these two words since the early 1900s. Flaunt means "to display ostentatiously," and most usage commentators consider it an error to use "flaunt" with the meaning "to treat with contemptuous disregard" (even though some admit to doing it themselves). Many educated writers have used "flaunt" in the "flout" sense for years, but the notoriety of the controversy is so great, and the belief that it's wrong to use "flaunt" for "flout" is so deep-seated, that we think you would do best to keep the two words distinct.

Examples of flout in a Sentence

Verb Despite repeated warnings, they have continued to flout the law. an able-bodied motorist openly flouting the law and parking in a space reserved for the disabled
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb At least a handful of Chicago bars and restaurants had plans for New Year’s Eve celebrations that flout the city’s COVID-19 regulations. Josh Noel, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago restaurants scrap New Year’s Eve plans as city pledges to keep watch: ‘I made the tough call. It’s a bummer.’," 31 Dec. 2020 Yet a Science investigation published earlier this year revealed that investigators routinely flout the requirement and go unpunished, despite the NIH and FDA’s attempt in 2017 to increase enforcement. Sarah Elizabeth Richards, Wired, "One Man’s Search for the DNA Data That Could Save His Life," 19 Nov. 2020 From the Palestinian territories to the United Arab Emirates, officials attribute a spike in virus cases to traditional, large-scale weddings that flout public health measures. Star Tribune, "For Arab newlyweds, the party goes on until police bust in," 25 Sep. 2020 Anti-Trump and anti-fascist protesters for weeks have called on D.C. officials and businesses to do more to crack down on Trump supporters who largely flout coronavirus restrictions, such as mask mandates. Washington Post, "Jan. 6 protests multiply as Trump continues to call supporters to Washington," 31 Dec. 2020 Louisiana law empowers authorities to penalize people who flout restrictions implemented during situations like the coronavirus pandemic, which Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a public health emergency. Ramon Antonio Vargas | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "NOPD urges people to not attend Christian rally planned for New Year's Eve at Jackson Square," 30 Dec. 2020 Even as some Michigan restaurants continue to flout a state order temporarily banning indoor dining, there is still little public information available on how COVID-19 is spreading through the state’s restaurants. Malak Silmi, Detroit Free Press, "Tracing COVID's spread through metro Detroit restaurants is an inexact science," 26 Dec. 2020 So some counties enforce the rules while others do not, and businesses are often free to flout the rules, allowing the virus to spread further. Amina Khan Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus Today: Has California been too lax?," 22 Dec. 2020 Such accounts show that recovering from the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus isn’t an excuse to shed masks and flout social-distancing rules while the pandemic is in full swing. Sarah Elizabeth Richards, Science, "Already had the coronavirus? You could get it again.," 1 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flout.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of flout


1551, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


1566, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for flout

Verb and Noun

probably from Middle English flouten to play the flute, from floute flute

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about flout

Time Traveler for flout

Time Traveler

The first known use of flout was in 1551

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about flout

Statistics for flout

Last Updated

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Flout.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flout. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for flout


How to pronounce flout (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of flout

: to break or ignore (a law, rule, etc.) without hiding what you are doing or showing fear or shame


\ ˈflau̇t How to pronounce flout (audio) \
flouted; flouting

Kids Definition of flout

: to ignore in an open and disrespectful way The children flouted the rules.

More from Merriam-Webster on flout

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flout

Nglish: Translation of flout for Spanish Speakers

Comments on flout

What made you want to look up flout? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!