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Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:45 pm

• flaunt •

Pronunciation: flawnt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. (Transitive) To show off, to arrogantly display or exhibit. 2. (Intransitive) To wave grandly, to billow, as colored banners flaunting in the wind.

Notes: Today's word causes problems because it is often confused with flout "to contemptuously disregard". In fact, these two, like founder and flounder, are among the 250 Often Confused Words now available in Miss Spelling's Spelling Center. We flaunt our wealth; we flout the law (well, some do).

In Play: Flaunt is the word people who first started saying "show off" couldn't think of: "I hate talking to Dewey Trite because he always flaunts his perfect command of grammar!" Dewey says "flaunt" instead of "show off" or, worse, "throw (something) in your face". He speaks more concisely, too. Maybe this will help keeping the meanings straight: "When Liz Booker flouts the traffic laws in town she is also flaunting her connections at city hall."

Word History: No one has any convincing idea of the origin of today's Good Word so, rather than dwell on the doubtful ones, let's take a look at the history of flout. We know little more about this word; however, its similarity to the word for a flute player, flautist, suggests a relation. But what semantic relation could possibly stand between flute and flout, you may ask. Interestingly, the verb meaning "to play a flute" in Dutch, fluiten, also means to mock or deride by whistling or hissing. Since English borrowed quite a few words from Dutch, could we have borrowed this metaphorical usage? No one thus far has shown the connection. (We will not flout our duty and thank Perry Dror for helping us flaunt today's Good Word about the world.)
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Postby Stargzer » Mon Feb 19, 2007 1:55 am

In the words of Salvadore Dali, Perry:

For a television commercial in 1967, he sat in an airplane alongside Whitey Ford, the New York Yankees star pitcher, and proclaimed the advertising campaign slogan of Braniff Airlines in heavily accented English—“If you got it, flaunt it.” Said Ford, “That’s telling ’em, Dalí baby.”

With his accent I remember it coming out sounding more like "If you ga dit, flawn dit."

Younger viewers are asking themselves, "What in blazes is Braniff Airlines?"

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Postby Bailey » Mon Feb 19, 2007 12:04 pm

I flew Braniff in the '60's [do you remember the 1960's?], an interesting airlines that featured stewardesses [no, not flight attendants] that slowly undressed as the flight went on and colorful airplanes.

mark sorry-that-it-finally-succmbed-to-the-inevitable Bailey

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