Flounting, Disconcerning

The Covid-19 pandemic has provided newspeople with many new opportunities to misinform and mispronounce. One frequently heard gaffe is using flaunt when they mean flout. “Protesters at the Target flaunted the stay-at-home order …”

Today my wife told me she heard yet a new take on it. The reporter said the shop owner was “flounting” the order by opening her shop. That’s an interesting approach and admirable in a way. If you’re too dumb to know which word is right, and too lazy to look it up, just make up a new word that can be mistaken for either word. It does show imagination.

Then later I heard a news anchor say that something the White House said or did was disconcerning. That’s not a word, although you could call it a portmanteau of concerning and disconcerting. Those two words have very similar meanings, but, oddly, disconcerning suggests almost an opposite meaning. The dis- prefix usually means a negative, like not or un-, as in disallowed or disbelieve.

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