Friday, November 22, 2002

Etymology Today from M-W: flagrant \FLAY-grunt\
: conspicuously offensive; especially : so obviously inconsistent with what is right or proper as to appear to be a flouting of law or morality

In Latin, "flagrare" means "to burn," and "flagrans" means "burning" or "fiery hot" (both literally and figuratively). When it was first used in the 16th century, "flagrant" had the same meaning as "flagrans," but by the 18th century it had acquired its current meaning of "conspicuously bad." Some usage commentators warn against using "flagrant" and "blatant" interchangeably. While both words denote conspicuousness, they are not exact synonyms. "Blatant" is usually used of some person, action, or thing that attracts
disapproving attention (e.g., "a blatant grammatical error"). "Flagrant" is used similarly, but usually carries a heavier weight of violated morality (e.g., "flagrant abuse of public office").

Previous E.T.

No comments: