Friday, February 7, 2014

taunt/taut/tout: The Weekend Edition—Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Friday–Sunday, February 7–9, 2014

I am told that medical personnel often mistakenly refer to a patient’s abdomen as “taunt” rather than the correct “taut.” “Taunt” (“tease” or “mock”) can be a verb or noun, but never an adjective. “Taut” means “tight, distended,” and is always an adjective.

Don’t confuse “taunt” with “tout,” which means “promote,” as in “Senator Bilgewater has been touted as a Presidential candidate.” You tout somebody you admire and taunt someone that you don’t.

The Week's End Extra from the Archives: "Flatline" (May 14, 2011).

Note for Sunday, if you are in the Seattle area: Paul Brians will be at Eagle Harbor Books at 3 p.m.

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