verb \ ˈflau̇t \
|Updated on: 19 Aug 2018

Definition of flout

flouted; flouting; flouts
: to treat with contemptuous disregard : scorn
  • flouting the rules
: to indulge in scornful behavior
  • Ah, you may flout and turn up your faces
  • —Robert Browning



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flaunt vs. flout

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. BlackburnAAUP 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

Examples of flout in a Sentence

  1. Despite repeated warnings, they have continued to flout the law.

  2. an able-bodied motorist openly flouting the law and parking in a space reserved for the disabled

Recent Examples of flout from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of flout

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

flout Synonyms

Synonym Discussion of 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




Definition of flout

: jeer

Origin and Etymology of flout

see 1flout

FLOUT Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of flout for English Language Learners

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

FLOUT Defined for Kids


verb \ ˈflau̇t \

Definition of flout for Students

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

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