Printable Version
Pronunciation: flay-grênt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Glaringly offensive and reprehensible, shockingly obvious. 2. (Obsolete) Flaming, blazing.

Notes: Flagrant and blatant are similar in meaning but are not synonyms. Flagrant connotes breaking rules; blatant "patently obvious" does not. Flagrant comes with an adverb, flagrantly, and a noun, flagrancy.

In Play: Flagrancy is usually associated with the violations of rules and protocols: "The frog in the water cooler was a flagrant violation of the unwritten water cooler rules, let alone the written rules of hygiene." Violations of rules are not the only thing that may be flagrant: "Hennessey had the flagrant bad taste of asking her age."

Word History: Today's Good Word was borrowed from Latin flagran(t)s "flaming, blazing; passionate", the present participle of flagrare "to burn, blaze, glow". Flagrare was based on PIE bhleg-ro-/bhlog-ro-, an extended form of bhleg- "to shine, flash, burn", source also of Greek phlegein "to burn, scorch" and Latin fulgere "to shine". The root bhel-/bhle- "to shine, flash, burn" emerged in Russian as belyi "white" and English as black and bleach. (Words occasionally pick up their antonymous meanings: scald and cold are another example.) German Blitz "flash", as in Blitzkrieg, comes from the same PIE source. The sense of "glaringly offensive, scandalous" probably derives from the legalese phrase flagrante delicto "red-handed", literally "with the crime still blazing". (It would be a flagrant breach of established practice should we forget to credit our old friend, Albert Skiles, for yet another formidably Good Word suggestion.)

Dr. Goodword,

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