Death Of A Perfectly Good Word

Before 1551-ca. 2005

I can't tell you how many times I have seen "flaunt" used to mean "flout" in respectable venues--academic writing, AP newswires--just in the past couple of weeks. I know the distinction has been on its way out for a while, but I think it's finally past the point at which people even realize there's an issue. Time was, people knew there were two words and that it was possible to confuse them, and did it anyway. Now, I think, "flout" is simply gone from the language. Perhaps it sounds too much like a fish, or a part of a fish, to be usable to mean "scoff at" or "violate with abandon." So Tom DeLay flaunts the law. I guess it's his prerogative.


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