1. Usage Problem Totally or offensively conspicuous or obtrusive: a blatant lie.
2. Unpleasantly loud and noisy: "There are those who find the trombones blatant and the triangle silly, but both add effective color" (Musical Heritage Review). See Synonyms at vociferous.
[From Latin blatīre, to blab (on the model of words such as RAMPANT).]
Usage Note: Blatant and flagrant both attribute conspicuousness and offensiveness to certain acts, but the words differ in emphasis. Blatant means "offensively conspicuous," and thus emphasizes the actor's failure to conceal the act. Flagrant, on the other hand, means "conspicuously offensive," and emphasizes the serious wrongdoing inherent in the offense. Thus many actions, from an infraction of the rules in a football game to a violation of human rights, may be blatant or flagrant, depending on what is being emphasized. If the act is committed with contempt for public scrutiny, it is blatant. If the act seems extreme in its violation of norms, it is flagrant. · Blatant and (to a much lesser extent) flagrant are sometimes used as synonyms of obvious, in contexts where there is no immediate connection to human behavior, as in What surprised us was that they went ahead with the idea in spite of the blatant danger of the approach. This usage has traditionally been considered an error, and it is not surprising, therefore, that most of the Usage Panel dislikes it. In our 2004 survey, only 42 percent accepted the sentence just listed.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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