Difference between Blatant or Flagrant?

In the English language, adjectives such as blatant and flagrant are used to describe actions, often negative, with a certain level of intensity or obviousness. While these terms may seem interchangeable at first glance, they carry subtle distinctions in connotation and usage. This article aims to clarify these differences, ensuring readers can employ each term with precision and accuracy.

DefinitionObvious in an offensive or shameless wayShockingly noticeable or evident; obviously offensive
SynonymsGlaring, egregious, conspicuousGross, glaring, scandalous
Usage ContextsLies, disrespect, violations of social normsViolations of law, ethics, or morality
Example Sentences“The lie was a blatant disregard for the truth.”“The act was a flagrant violation of human rights.”
Transparent and Overt

Difference Between Blatant and Flagrant

Definition of Blatant

Blatant describes something done openly and unashamedly, often in a manner that is offensively conspicuous. It is typically used to highlight the obviousness and lack of subtlety in actions, behaviors, or statements.

Definition of Flagrant

Flagrant, on the other hand, emphasizes the shocking and egregious nature of an action, particularly in the context of wrongdoing. It is often used in legal or moral discussions to describe actions that are glaringly bad or reprehensible.

Origin of Blatant and Flagrant

  • Blatant originated from the 16th century, possibly coined by Edmund Spenser in his poem “The Faerie Queene.” It combines the sense of blathering or babbling with a negative connotation.
  • Flagrant comes from the Latin word “flagrare,” meaning to burn, and entered English in the 16th century. It carries the implication of something so bad it is metaphorically on fire with wrongdoing.


  • Blatant: /ˈbleɪ.tənt/
  • Flagrant: /ˈflæɡ.rənt/

Comparing Blatant and Flagrant

The main distinction between blatant and flagrant lies in the intensity and context of the offense. Blatant actions are openly obvious and shameless, often lacking in moral sensibility, but not necessarily illegal. Flagrant actions are not just open and obvious but also carry a sense of burning outrage, typically used to describe violations that are both obvious and deeply wrong on a moral or legal level.

ConnotationShamelessly obviousShockingly egregious
Common UsesDescribing actions or statementsDescribing violations or offenses
IntensityHighHigher, with an emphasis on moral or legal outrage

Usage in Sentences with Explanations

Use of Blatant in Sentences

  1. The politician’s blatant disregard for the truth angered many.
    • Blatant is used to describe the shameless nature of ignoring the truth.
  2. His blatant attempt to cheat on the exam was caught on camera.
    • Highlights the obviousness of the attempt without necessarily implying a legal offense.

Use of Flagrant in Sentences

  1. The company’s flagrant violation of environmental laws led to a hefty fine.
    • Flagrant emphasizes the egregious and shocking nature of the legal wrongdoing.
  2. Her flagrant disrespect for the rules of the game resulted in a suspension.
    • Describes behavior that is not just obvious but also shockingly disrespectful to established norms or laws.


While both blatant and flagrant describe actions that are openly obvious, blatant focuses more on the shamelessness and boldness of an action, whereas flagrant highlights actions that are shockingly offensive, often in a legal or moral context. Understanding these nuances ensures the correct application of each term, enhancing clarity and precision in communication.

Commonly Asked Questions

  • Can “blatant” and “flagrant” be used interchangeably?
    • While there is some overlap in their meanings, it’s important to consider the context and the nuance each word conveys. Blatant is more about the shameless obviousness of an action, while flagrant suggests a shocking, egregious nature, often with legal or moral implications.
  • Is “flagrant foul” in sports related to the legal or moral implications of “flagrant”?
    • In sports, a “flagrant foul” carries the sense of flagrant as it denotes an action that is not just against the rules but is egregiously dangerous or unsportsmanlike, thus crossing into the territory of moral or ethical violation within the context of the game.
  • How can I remember the difference between “blatant” and “flagrant”?
    • Think of blatant as shamelessly obvious in a broad sense, and flagrant as glaringly wrong in a way that shocks or offends moral, ethical, or legal standards.
glaring mistakes


What is the difference between blatant and flagrant?

Blatant and flagrant are often-confused terms. While both words convey a sense of obviousness or transparency, there are subtle distinctions between them. Blatant refers to something that is conspicuously or unmistakably obvious, whereas flagrant emphasizes the notoriety or egregiousness of an action. In short, blatant suggests a more overt display, while flagrant implies a more flagitious or scandalous behavior.

How would you define blatant?

In its simplest form, blatant means something that is clear or obvious. It can be used to describe actions or behaviors that are unconcealed, unmistakable, or shamelessly conspicuous. Synonyms for blatant include obvious, glaring, and transparent.

Can you provide an example of a blatant behavior?

Certainly! An example of a blatant behavior would be someone talking on their cellphone during a quiet library study session. This action is apparent and conspicuous, disregarding the established rules and norms of silent study areas.

How would you describe something as flagrant?

Flagrant is used to characterize actions or behaviors that are not only obvious but also notably scandalous or offensive. It implies a more overt sense of wrongness or audacity. Synonyms for flagrant include outrageous, egregious, and unmistakable.

Can you provide an example of a flagrant behavior?

Absolutely! A flagrant behavior could be a professional athlete using performance-enhancing drugs, despite strict rules and regulations prohibiting such substances. This act not only violates the established guidelines but also brings attention to its notoriety and unapologetic nature.

What are the nuanced differences between blatant and flagrant?

While blatant and flagrant share the common theme of being conspicuous or obvious, the nuances lie in their connotations. Blatant places emphasis on the clear visibility of an action or behavior, while flagrant adds a layer of scandal or notoriety. It’s important to be discerning and understand these subtle contrasts when using each term in different contexts.

Leave a Comment