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flouted; flouting; flouts

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 facesRobert Browning
flouter noun
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


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: jeer

Did you know?

If you flout a rule or societal norm, you ignore it without hiding what you're doing, or showing fear or shame; you flout it "out" in the open. The similar-sounding word flaunt is sometimes used in the same way, though that word's older and more common meaning is "to display ostentatiously," as in "people who flaunt their wealth." Critics have been objecting to the confusion of these two words since the early 1900s, but use of flaunt with the meaning "to treat with contemptuous disregard" is found in even polished, edited writing, and so that meaning is included in dictionaries as an established use of the word. Nonetheless, you may want to avoid it: there are still many who judge harshly those who (they feel) are flouting proper English usage.

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

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
But the letters have done little to dissuade companies from flouting FDA rules and introducing new vapes. Matthew Perrone, Twin Cities, 12 June 2024 Taxi drivers have for years complained about how Uber has flouted local laws, upended the market, and chipped away their already modest earnings. Chris Lau, CNN, 8 June 2024 Competition is intense, and rules are often flouted — especially where bribery is concerned. Omkar Khandekar, NPR, 31 May 2024 Is there a better example of arrogant corporate behavior than flouting a government decree — not once but multiple times? Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 29 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for flout 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'flout.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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


derivative of flout entry 1

First Known Use


1551, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


1566, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of flout was in 1551


Dictionary Entries Near flout

Cite this Entry

“Flout.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flout. Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


: to ignore in a disrespectful way
flouting the rules
flouter noun

More from Merriam-Webster on flout

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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