Levels of Distractibility: Who cares? = *. Some people will be distracted from your meaning: = **. Many people will be distracted from your meaning: = ***.
Question: I never get it right. When I mean "flout," I say "flaunt." When I mean "flaunt," I say "flout." How do I get them straight?
Answer: The confusion between these two words is probably one of the most frequent usage problems. "Flaunt" means to show off: "He flaunted his skill at catching passes by staging a pantomime in the end zone." Meaning, like T.O., he humiliated the opponents by dancing in the end zone after scoring a touchdown on a ten-yard pass.
"Flout" means to defy: "He flouted the rule not to tailgate the car in front of him." Meaning, he kept on tailgating even though he had received at least three tickets from the State Police for doing so.
Rating of Distractibility: ***. This is a "biggie." Make a mistake with these two words, and you will "pay the price" in sneers. Some people would say that anyone who uses either of these two words is probably a snob. Still, these words accurately describe familiar actions.