difference between flagrant and blatant

Thursday, August 14, 2008

You may not know this, but when you say Blatant, as in, "That bird bath that's blatantly right in front of you..." you're really not using it properly.

Blatant means...

Oh, hold on a moment...

[Looking at Dictionary.com]


[Looking at Merriam-Webster.com]


[Looking at Bartleby.com]


Apparently they've changed the definition of Blatant again--or at least swapped it with Flagrant. Also again.

Dictionary.com provides a labyrinthine usage note, so we'll shorten it a bit:

...Blatant emphasizes the failure to conceal the act. Flagrant...emphasizes the serious wrongdoing inherent in the offense. Certain contexts may admit either word depending on what is meant: a violation of human rights might be either blatant or flagrant. If it was committed with contempt for public scrutiny, it is blatant. If its barbarity was monstrous, it is flagrant.
The phrase Contempt for Public Scrutiny is confusing--but it just means, well, sort of like you're committing it in public, and you sort of want them to see or maybe you just don't care. You know, like in The Godfather when Sonny kicks the crap out of Carlo? That'd be blatant because he doesn't care who sees him. But I guess that's monstrously barbarous, too, so it'd also be flagrant...

Well, screw Dictionary.com; Merriam-Webster.com says Blatant means
noisy especially in a vulgar or offensive manner
And Flagrant means
fiery hot
Which, dammit, doesn't help us either. Okay, okay, Bartleby's better, we swear:
Anything blatant stands out because it is loud and boisterous. Anything flagrant stands out because it is glaringly, flamingly, blazingly visible, and hence calls attention to itself. Blatant misdeeds announce themselves loudly; flagrant wrongs are easily seen.
Ah screw this. Just use Brazen.