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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English vaunten, from Anglo-Norman vaunter, variant of Old French vanter, from Latin vānus (vain, boastful).


vaunt (third-person singular simple present vaunts, present participle vaunting, simple past and past participle vaunted)

  1. (intransitive) To speak boastfully.
    • 1829Washington Irving, Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada, chapter XC
      "The number," said he, "is great, but what can be expected from mere citizen soldiers? They vaunt and menace in time of safety; none are so arrogant when the enemy is at a distance; but when the din of war thunders at the gates they hide themselves in terror."
  2. (transitive) To speak boastfully about.
  3. (transitive) To boast of; to make a vain display of; to display with ostentation.
Derived terms[edit]


vaunt (plural vaunts)

  1. A boast; an instance of vaunting.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book IV”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, OCLC 230729554:
      the spirits beneath, whom I seduced / with other promises and other vaunts
    • 1848, Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son
      “In every vaunt you make,” she said, “I have my triumph. I single out in you the meanest man I know, the parasite and tool of the proud tyrant, that his wound may go the deeper, and may rankle more. Boast, and revenge me on him! []
    • 1904, G. K. Chesterton, The Napoleon of Notting Hill, Book II, chapter III
      He has answered me back, vaunt for vaunt, rhetoric for rhetoric.

Etymology 2[edit]

French avant (before, fore). See avant, vanguard.


vaunt (plural vaunts)

  1. (obsolete) The first part.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for vaunt in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)