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Definition: Over self-confident shamelessness, barefaced audacity.

Pronunciation: eff-ruhnt-er-ee

Origin: early 18th century – from French effronté, meaning ‘shameless’. Probably derives from the Latin frontus, meaning ‘forehead’ – as in ‘to stick one’s forehead in’ – which is a pretty good description of shamelessness.

Why this word?

While familiar with the word affront, I had only recently discovered the word effront and quickly became confused about what the difference between the two is and when to use them. Having spent much time researching them, we have arrived at an answer. First – a definition of affront – ‘an intentional insult; a deliberate act of disrespect’. The difference between the two begins to emerge. An affront is a deliberate act of disrespect, whereas an act of effrontery may not necessarily disrespect – but it shows brazenness.

How and when to use this word in a sentence:

Hopefully, these words will be used by you and not about you. If, however, one must be used to describe you , then effrontery  is the one you want.

That friend who tries to get their dessert for free at a restaurant – that is an act of effrontery. However, when the restaurant manager refuses and your friend throws the dessert on the floor and stomps on it – that’s just crossed the affront line


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Written by Sean Carabini

Seán Carabini is a Dublin-based author. To date, Seán has written the humorous travel memoirs 'Sticking Out in Minnesota' and 'American Road', as well as 'American Road: The poems' - a book of travel poetry related to the memoir. Seán has also developed a podcast based on the book - subscribe to the American Road podcast today! Seán is a committee member of the Irish Writers' Union.

Chrissy Skelton is Seán Carabini's editor. A graduate of the University of Minnesota's Anthropology programme, Chrissy emerged armed with an arsenal of little-known words and cumbersome jargon - all of which will now be off-loaded onto 'unusedwords' readers!


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