Peeve of the Day

Because it’s hot and humid this evening – great weather for feeling peevish.

Today’s peeve, writers and gentlethings, is that pair of not-quite homonyms, flout and flaunt.  Not only do they sound sort of alike, the definitional territories they occupy are close enough together that it’s no wonder they’re often confused.  (That’s not going to spare you my peevishness, though.  Nobody promised you this writing thing was going to be easy.)

To flout something is to recklessly disregard something, or to openly disobey or act against it:  Maisie chose to flout convention and run off to Paris with Duke Roderick in his private zeppelin.

To flaunt something is to display it in an ostentatious or deliberately provocative manner:  The gossip-mongers were quite put out when Maisie returned two weeks later flaunting an engagement ring with a diamond the size of a cut-glass doorknob.

Got the difference now?


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