\ˈflau̇t \
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)

: jeer

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Other Words from flout


flouter noun

Synonyms for flout

Synonyms: Verb

despise, disregard, scorn

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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


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

The attorney general’s action is also likely to embolden critics who have accused Trump of flouting legal norms. Danny Hakim, BostonGlobe.com, "N.Y. sues Trump Foundation over way it used funds," 15 June 2018 Impoverished, unpredictable, and with a history of flouting international law, the government in Pyongyang would make a high-risk partner for something as capital-intensive as an energy pipeline. Marc Champion, Bloomberg.com, "There’s a Gas Pipeline Deal to Be Done With Kim Jong Un. Any Takers?," 14 June 2018 Morrisey also released a 30-second robo call on Saturday that slammed Blankenship and accused him of flouting ethics rules at a press conference on Sunday. Dan Merica, CNN, "Don Blankenship is running on Trumpism in West Virginia. The GOP is worried it will work.," 7 May 2018 The Citizens stood accused by Velez Sarsfield of 'flouting transfer rules' in the signing of attacking midfielder Benjamin Garre. SI.com, "Man City Avoids Transfer Ban After CAS Clears Club in Benjamin Garre Signing," 17 Apr. 2018 Scholars, too, sometimes suggest that lower courts are flouting Scalia’s opinion or narrowing it from below. Joseph Blocher And Eric Ruben, Vox, "The Second Amendment allows for more gun control than you think," 14 June 2018 Individuals who flout the communications stop order face a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a fine of 20,000 Singapore dollars ($14,891). Fox News, "New Singapore anti-terror law can order media blackout," 16 May 2018 But forget protocol, which this administration has flouted on countless occasions. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "No, Sarah Huckabee Sanders Shouldn't Be Able to Eat Dinner in Public: Opinion," 26 June 2018 People who are here illegally flouted those laws, while legal immigrants did not. WSJ, "Elites Miss the Point on Immigration Politics," 13 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of flout


1551, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


1566, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for flout


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


see flout entry 1

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Statistics for flout

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for flout

The first known use of flout was in 1551

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More Definitions for flout



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 \
flouted; flouting

Kids Definition of flout

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

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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).


by force of circumstances

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