Flout

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Flout

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:28 pm

• flout •


Pronunciation: flæwt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. To defiantly disobey (a law or convention). 2. (Archaic) To express contempt in one's behavior, to jeer, mock.

Notes: This word is often confused with flaunt, which means "to show off", with results that range from misleading to hilarious. You may flout the law by breaking it, but to flaunt the law would require an ostentatious display of a law. The noun flout may be applied to a singular piece of mockery: "That was a particularly telling flout, Cruella." Defiant disobedience in general is floutage. One who flouts is a flouter, who behaves floutingly.

In Play: More often the contempt is expressed by action: "You flout all standards of decency; don't imagine for a moment you're going out dressed like that." The second sense of flout is now less common: "Dennis was flouting the CEO to anyone who would listen and to several who wouldn't."

Word History: Today's Good Word came from Middle English flouten "to play the flute", which may have been borrowed from the Old French name for the instrument itself, flaute or fleute. These two different versions of the instrument's name account for the fact that someone who plays the flute is called a flautist. The connection with mockery may relate to the laughing tones of the flute. We have a jeering gesture made by aligning both hands on the nose, thumb to pinky, and wriggling all fingers in imitation of playing a flute. In fact, English may have borrowed the word from Dutch fluiten "to play the flute, whistle in derision". German dialect pfeifen auf, literally "pipe at", has a similar extended meaning.
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Slava
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Re: Flout

Postby Slava » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:08 pm

The classical music radio station I listen to no longer uses "flautist." It's now "flutist." My spellcheck also doesn't recognize it.

Pianist is now piANist, too.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.

George Kovac
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Re: Flout

Postby George Kovac » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:52 pm

Slava wrote:The classical music radio station I listen to no longer uses "flautist." It's now "flutist."


"Flutist” was an unimaginative resolution of your radio station’s prissiness. That choice of euphemism was probably selected by a studio producer who was still scandalized by the boys in the back row of fifth grade English class who sniggered as the teacher rehearsed the past tense of “lie.”

I'm guessing that radio producer wanted to eliminate any whiff of the false etymological connection between flutes and "flatus". Well, here is a more inspired replacement word for "flautist": “afflatist.”
“The messy layers of human experience get pulled together, and sometimes ordered, by words.” Colum McCann “But Always Meeting Ourselves” New York Times, June 15, 2009

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Slava
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Re: Flout

Postby Slava » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:49 pm

I guess that's along the same lines of going with piANist.

Why did my friends name their puppy Paderewski? Because he was the pianist.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.


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