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Etymology 1[edit]

Of North Germanic origin. Perhaps related to Norwegian flanta (to show off, wander about), Icelandic flana (to rush about, act rashly or heedlessly) and then also to French flâner (to wander around, loiter).

Alternatively, it could be related to Swedish flankt (loosely, flutteringly) (compare English flaunt-a-flaunt), from flanka (waver, hang and wave about, ramble), a nasalised variant of flakka (to waver), related to Middle English flacken (to move to and fro, flutter, palpitate). See flack.

Alternative forms[edit]


flaunt (third-person singular simple present flaunts, present participle flaunting, simple past and past participle flaunted)

  1. (intransitive, archaic) To wave or flutter smartly in the wind.
    • 1931, William Faulkner, Sanctuary, Library of America, published 1985, page 26:
      The house came into sight, above the cedar grove beyond whose black interstices an apple orchard flaunted in the sunny afternoon.
  2. (transitive) To parade, display with ostentation.
    She’s always flaunting her designer clothes.
    • 2017 June 7, Adam Lusher, “Adnan Khashoggi: the 'whoremonger' whose arms deals funded a playboy life of decadence and 'pleasure wives'”, in The Independent[1], London:
      Never one to miss an opportunity to flaunt his wealth, Khashoggi let his yacht be used for the 1983 Bond film Never Say Never Again.
  3. (intransitive, archaic or literary) To show off, as with flashy clothing.
    • 1712, Humphry Polesworth [pseudonym; John Arbuthnot], “How Bull and Frog went to Law with Lord Strutt about the Premisses, and were Joined by the Rest of the Tradesmen”, in Law is a Bottomless-Pit. [], London: [] John Morphew, [], →OCLC, pages 8–9:
      You Sot, ſays ſhe, you loyter about Alehouſes and Taverns, ſpend your Time at Billiards, Nine-pins or Puppet-ſhovvs, or flaunt about the Streets in your nevv gilt Chariot, never minding me nor your numerous Family; []
    • 1733, [Alexander Pope], An Essay on Man. [], (please specify |epistle=I to IV), London: Printed for J[ohn] Wilford, [], →OCLC:
      One flaunts in rags, one flutters in brocade.
    • 1856, Dinah Craik, John Halifax, Chapter VI:
      [T]he younger belles had begun to flaunt in the French fashions of flimsy muslins, shortwaisted— narrow-skirted.
    • 1897 October 16, Henry James, chapter XXV, in What Maisie Knew, Chicago, Ill., New York, N.Y.: Herbert S. Stone & Co., →OCLC:
      [] Mrs. Wix seemed to flaunt there in her finery.
Usage notes[edit]
  • Not to be confused with flout.
Derived terms[edit]


flaunt (plural flaunts)

  1. (obsolete) Anything displayed for show.

Etymology 2[edit]


flaunt (third-person singular simple present flaunts, present participle flaunting, simple past and past participle flaunted)

  1. (proscribed) To flout.
    • 2001, Susan Stryker, Queer Pulp, page 22:
      By that late date, however, the golden age of the lurid paperback book was pretty much over, and the sort of punishment meted out to Aday and Maxey for flaunting the sexual mores of a McCarthyite culture would soon be a thing of the past.
    • 2017 January 20, David Shepardson, “Outgoing FCC chair warns against overturning net neutrality”, in Reuters[2]:
      Wheeler said companies already are flaunting the rules by offering free or sponsored data services for some products.