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flout

To flout is to scorn or show contempt for. "I flout the law and the concept of civilian safety by making a concerted effort to jaywalk every time I cross a street."

Oddly enough, when flout came into existence in the 1550s, it had a much different sense to it than it does now; it's believed that it evolved from the Middle English flowten, “to play the flute." These days, the verb flout means "to scorn," as in to scorn a law, person, or social norm by defying it. As a noun, it is a contemptuous remark or insult. Wrote William Shakespeare, “Flout 'em, and scout 'em; and scout 'em and flout 'em; Thought is free.”

Definitions of flout
  1. verb
    treat with contemptuous disregard
    flout the rules”
    synonyms: scoff
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    type of:
    brush aside, brush off, discount, dismiss, disregard, ignore, push aside
    bar from attention or consideration
  2. verb
    laugh at with contempt and derision
    synonyms: barrack, gibe, jeer, scoff
    see moresee less
    type of:
    bait, cod, rag, rally, razz, ride, tantalise, tantalize, taunt, tease, twit
    harass with persistent criticism or carping
Commonly confused words

flaunt / flout

Flaunt is to show off, but flout is to ignore the rules. Rebels do both — they flaunt their new pink motorcycles by popping a wheelie, and flout the law by running a red light.

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