Garner's Modern Eng Usage says that some dictionaries "have thrown in the towel" and now list flaunt/flout as synonyms. Could someone tell me which dictionaries do this? I have approx 10 dictionaries and none of them treat them as synonyms.
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Garner's Modern Eng Usage says that some dictionaries "have thrown in the towel" and now list flaunt/flout as synonyms. Could someone tell me which dictionaries do this? I have approx 10 dictionaries and none of them treat them as synonyms.

Collins makes a usage note that flaunt is "sometimes wrongly used" for flout , but in my book acknowledging that they're used that way doesn't constitute listing them as synonyms.

Cheers, Harvey
Ottawa/Toronto/Edmonton for 30 years;
Southern England for the past 22 years.
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Garner's Modern Eng Usage says that some dictionaries "have thrown in the towel" and now list flaunt/flout as synonyms. Could someone tell me which dictionaries do this? I have approx 10 dictionaries and none of them treat them as synonyms.

garner is just being (typically) hyperbolic here. i don't think there's any dictionary that lists them as synonyms. but a number of dictionaries AHD4, for example note that some people (or, even, many people) use "flaunt" to mean 'flout, display contempt for'. garner is treating the mention of this usage (which seems to be about a hundred years old, though really only widespread for the past 50 or
60 years) as approval of it. this despite the fact that even thevery "permissive" AHD4 explicitly warns you that it's widely seen as erroneous and so is to be avoided. MWDEU has a similar warning, but as usual provides a thoughtful account of how the usage came into being just the sort of thing that causes garner to excoriate MWDEU: dammit, they should be stamping it out, not sympathetically explaining why people use it!
arnold
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On 06 Nov 2004, howard richler wrote

Garner's Modern Eng Usage says that some dictionaries "have thrown ... 10 dictionaries and none of them treat them as synonyms.

Collins makes a usage note that flaunt is "sometimes wronglyused" for flout , but in my book acknowledging that they're used thatway doesn't constitute listing them as synonyms.

COD9 says "should not be confused with". MW Online, though, has not only caved in but even written to justify the solecism, with only the warning "If you use it, however, you should be aware that many people will consider it a mistake." So it seems that American dictionaries may be the culprits. (Cue linguistics Brahmin saying it doesn't matter if low-caste people are encouraged to make themselves unintelligible, and "Take the ladder away, Jack: I'm all right!")

I swear by my fave Egyptian god: Ptah!
Mike.
The distinction between flaunt and flout is moot.

Ron Hardin
On the internet, nobody knows you're a jerk.
It's never used the other way round (flout mistakenly used for flaunt), though, is it? If it is, I've never come across it. I'm wondering why not.

Katy Jennison
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Garner's Modern Eng Usage says that some dictionaries "have thrown ... 10 dictionaries and none of them treat them as synonyms.

garner is just being (typically) hyperbolic here. i don't think there's any dictionary that lists them as synonyms. but a ... causes garner to excoriate MWDEU: dammit, they should be stamping it out, not sympathetically explaining why people use it! arnold

While MWCD11 does not formally list "flout" and "flaunt" as synonyms, the definitions it gives for a transitive sense of each verb appears to show them to be de facto synonyms:
For "flout": "to treat with contemptuous disregard : SCORN "
For "flaunt": "to treat contemptuously "
The etymologies given for "flaunt" in the *Encarta World English Dictionary,* North American ed., and MWCD11 are quite different:

From
http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/dictionary/DictionaryResults.aspx?refid=1861612075

"Mid-16th century. Origin unknown: perhaps a blend of flout and vaunt."

From MWCD11: "perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse flana to rush around."

Raymond S. Wise
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
E-mail: mplsray @ yahoo . com
The distinction between flaunt and flout is moot.

Or maunt.
Garner's Modern Eng Usage says that some dictionaries "have thrown in the towel" and now list flaunt/flout as synonyms. Could someone tell me which dictionaries do this? I have approx 10 dictionaries and none of them treat them as synonyms.

From MWCD11:
Main Entry:flaunt

transitive verb

2 : to treat contemptuously flaunted the rules — Louis *** Although transitive sense 2 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 menTput 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 Bulletin*. 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 1 is found occasionally *The proper pronunciation,* the blonde said, flouting her refined upbringing, *is pree feeks* — Mike Royko.

The COD10 usage enty for "flaunt" suggests that a usage that accounts for 20% of the instances of a word is an "error":
– USAGE It is a common error to use flaunt when flout is intended. Flaunt means ‘display ostentatiously’, while flout means ‘openly disregard (a rule or convention)’. Around 20 per cent of the uses of flaunt in the British National Corpus are incorrect in this respect.

In COD11 this note has been cut back, removing the self-indictment: – USAGE It is a common error to use flaunt when flout is intended. Flaunt means ‘display ostentatiously’, while flout means ‘openly disregard (a rule or convention)’.
SOED5 is not so prescriptivist (s.v. 'flaunt'):

3. verb trans. Flout. (Often considered to be erron.) E20.Times The Prime Minister..referred to 'flaunting' the regulations.

OED2 seems to somewhere between SOED5 and COD10/11, at least since 1993:

flaunt, v. Add: 4. In the sense of flout v. 1.
This usage clearly arose by confusion, and is widely considered erroneous.

1923 C. Garstin Owl's House xv. 161 He achieved strong localpopularity, a priceless asset to a man who lives by flaunting the law.

1934 Elliott & Merrill Social Disorganization xxv. 573 Whenself-support appears easy, the temptation to flaunt family control is very great.

1938 N. Coward Stately Homes of Eng. in Operette (libretto) I. vii.
55 Although we sometimes flaunt our family conventions, Our goodintentions Mustn't be misconstrued.

1973 Times 25 Jan. 17/6 The Prime Minister in a broadcast onWednesday (January 17)..referred to ‘flaunting’ the regulations.
1987 Listener 24 Sept. 25/1 Fanny Parkes, an intrepid type whoflaunted convention by wearing trousers and sailing up the Jumna..accompanied only by a native crew.
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