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OK, so it might be a bit late for this, but: Shouldn't it be called "flare" instead of "flair"? I'm talking, of course, of the stuff stackoverflow gives us.

I looked at Merriam-Webster, and neither word has a meaning approaching "badge" or "shiny graphic to put on your web page".

For "flair" I see: "An instinctive ability to appreciate or make good use of something"

For "flare" I see: "a light (...) designed to attract attention". "to flare" comes even closer to the meaning we have in mind: "to display conspicuously".

If one looks at the urban dictionary, we see "flare" defined as: "Any unwanted accessory that must be worn by your place of employment. (Just see the movie Office Space) "

Based on this, I think it's clear that the correct spelling is "flare". Using the wrong spelling might confuse everyone and make the world a slightly more confused place. Certainly, we want no such thing?

I don't know how difficult it would be to change the spelling throughout the stackoverflow site, both technically and if the term really is trademarked, as the stuff stackoverflow gives us (jokingly?) indicates.

The question, then, is: dear reader, do you think we should replace "flair" with "flare"? And - why?

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Ask a Nazi, see what they think about it. –  random Aug 13 '09 at 12:12
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No, it's "flair". –  Brian Knoblauch Aug 13 '09 at 14:00
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At least it's better than "bling". –  mmyers Aug 13 '09 at 14:51

4 Answers 4

up vote 10 down vote accepted

It's from Office Space, so I guess Jeff went with the spelling he found on IMDB. I don't think it's important enough to change.

Peter Gibbons: Doesn't it bother you that you have to get up in the morning and you have to put on a bunch of pieces of flair?

Joanna: Yeah, but I'm not about to go in and start taking money from the register.

Peter Gibbons: Well, maybe you should. You know, the Nazis had pieces of flair that they made the Jews wear.

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So the Internet has mistakes on it...hmm. –  Thomas Owens Aug 13 '09 at 12:17
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It's interesting how urban dictionary and IMBD both got their "flare/flair" from Office Space, but spell it differently. Further searching reveals an official Office Space "Flair" edition, so I guess that's the spelling they chose - so we'll have to go with that, even though the other spelling seems more logical. amazon.com/Office-Space-Special-Flair-Blu-ray/dp/B001JNNDEW –  user133653 Aug 13 '09 at 12:22
    
Ask Mike Judge, he wrote the documentary after all. –  random Aug 13 '09 at 12:26
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Also, we have "The Office Space Kit" in our office and it comes with starter "flair". –  ryan.rousseau Aug 13 '09 at 13:09
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@user133653- i think flair is the more logical spelling. look at one of the example sentences in dictionary.com: "Their window display has absolutely no flair at all." I think there's something interesting going on here, though. In the dictionary example sentence, "flair" means "stylishness". In the movie they use the phrase "pieces of flair." Jeff has simplified out the "pieces of", using just the word "flair" to mean "piece of flair". In other words, a new definition is developing, meaning something like "an item that displays stylishness", rather than just the quality of "stylishness" –  Kip Sep 24 '10 at 4:10

I would argue that you're wrong. Flare almost exclusively deals with flames or an expansion (flaring ones nostrils, flare jeans, etc.). Flair, on the other hand, is a "uniquely attractive quality."

Connotation is everything. Flare definitely connotes something being expanded or bursting out, while flair connotes style. Our badges aren't bursting off of the screen, so they are definitely flair. Judge and Atwood are both correct in their usage.

Since we're into semantics, word of the day: Prestidigitation

Also fun Office Space fact: I hate the section of 635 that Peter drives on in the infamous traffic scene. That scene makes me shudder, because I have lived that hell.

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I agree that "flair" is the correct spelling to use in this case. That said, one could argue that a box graphic is not a uniquely attractive quality, it's closer to "a light designed to attract attention" that might indicate that you have some such quality. –  user133653 Aug 13 '09 at 13:00
    
@redtuna: You're ignoring some very important words with that definition. Specifically, it's a "blaze of light used to attract attention." The difference matters. –  Eric Aug 13 '09 at 13:10
    
Yes, "flair" is correct. –  chaos Aug 13 '09 at 13:30

Ric Flair

ric flair whoo-ing

WHOOOOOOO!

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I went to Chotchkie's and asked Stan. He said it was spelled "F-L-A-I-R".

I think he should be authoritative on this.

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