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  1. (used with a plural verb) cattle fattened and ready for market.

Origin of fats

plural of fat


adjective, fat·ter, fat·test.
  1. having too much flabby tissue; corpulent; obese: a fat person.
  2. plump; well-fed: a good, fat chicken.
  3. consisting of or containing fat; greasy; oily: fat gravy; fat meat.
  4. profitable, as an office: a fat job on the city commission.
  5. affording good opportunities, especially for gain: a fat business contract.
  6. wealthy; prosperous; rich: He grew fat on dishonest profits.
  7. big, broad, or extended; thick: a fat sheaf of bills.
  8. plentiful; abundant: a fat supply of food.
  9. plentifully supplied: a fat larder; a fat feast.
  10. dull; stupid: fat clumsiness of manner.
  11. abounding in a particular element: Fat pine is rich in resin.
  12. (of paint) having more oil than pigment.Compare lean2(def 6).
  13. (of coal) highly bituminous; rich in volatile hydrocarbons.
  14. Ceramics. long1(def 25).
  15. fertile, as land: Everything grows in this fat soil.
  1. any of several white or yellowish greasy substances, forming the chief part of adipose tissue of animals and also occurring in plants, that when pure are colorless, odorless, and tasteless and are either solid or liquid esters of glycerol with fatty acids; fats are insoluble in water or cold alcohol but soluble in ether, chloroform, or benzene: used in the manufacture of soap, paints, and other protective coatings and in cooking.
  2. animal tissue containing much of this substance; loose flesh; flabbiness: to have rolls of fat around one's waist.
  3. the richest or best part of anything.
  4. obesity; corpulence: In his later years, he inclined to fat.
  5. Slang. especially profitable or advantageous work.
  6. an overabundance or excess; superfluity.
  7. action or lines in a dramatic part that permit an actor to display abilities.
  8. Also phat. Also called lift. Typesetting. matter that can be composed easily and profitably, especially from standing type, illustrations, or the like: fat work.Compare lean2(def 11).
verb (used with or without object), fat·ted, fat·ting.
  1. to make or become fat.
  1. a fat chance, Slang. a very slight chance; small probability: A fat chance he has of winning the title!
  2. a fat lot, Slang. little or not at all: A fat lot they care about anyone else's troubles!
  3. chew the fat. chew(def 11).
  4. the fat is in the fire,
    1. an irrevocable action or chain of events has been started; the die is cast: Now that they have been given an ultimatum, the fat is in the fire.
    2. the decision, whether good or bad, has been made.
    3. the crisis is imminent.
  5. the fat of the land, the best or richest of anything obtainable: to live on the fat of the land.

Origin of fat

before 1000; Middle English; Old English fǣtt, orig. past participle of fǣtan to cram, load, adorn; cognate with Gothic fētjan to adorn; akin to vat
Related formsfat·less, adjectivefat·like, adjectivede·fat, verb (used with object), de·fat·ted, de·fat·ting.o·ver·fat, adjectiveun·fat·ted, adjective
Can be confusedfat phat


See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. portly, adipose, pudgy. See stout. 3. unctuous, fatty. 4. lucrative, remunerative. 8. copious. 10. sluggish. 15. rich, fruitful, productive.


1. thin. 3. lean. 10. clever. 15. sterile, barren.


[wol-er, waw-ler]
  1. Edmund,1607–87, English poet.
  2. ThomasFats, 1904–43, U.S. jazz pianist and songwriter.


  1. AntoineFats, born 1928, U.S. rhythm-and-blues pianist, singer, and composer.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fats

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Fats clanged the door behind number six and weaved his way back in.

    Arm of the Law

    Harry Harrison

  • My explanation cheered him because he sat down by Fats and watched Ned do the floor.

    Arm of the Law

    Harry Harrison

  • Then Fats saw Alex with the bracelets on and turned sober in one second.

    Arm of the Law

    Harry Harrison

  • They need the seals for clothing, boots, fresh food, and fats.

    A Labrador Doctor

    Wilfred Thomason Grenfell

  • Name other fats in common use and describe their effects on digestion.

    A Handbook of Health

    Woods Hutchinson

British Dictionary definitions for fats


noun plural -noes
  1. a small rectangular block used in dominoes, divided on one side into two equal areas, each of which is either blank or marked with from one to six dots
  2. (modifier) exhibiting the domino effecta domino pattern of takeovers
See also dominoes

Word Origin

C19: from French, from Italian, perhaps from domino! master, said by the winner


noun plural -noes or -nos
  1. a large hooded cloak worn with an eye mask at a masquerade
  2. the eye mask worn with such a cloak

Word Origin

C18: from French or Italian, probably from Latin dominus lord, master


  1. Fats. real name Antoine Domino born 1928, US rhythm-and-blues and rock-and-roll pianist, singer, and songwriter. His singles include "Ain't that a Shame" (1955) and "Blueberry Hill" (1956)


  1. any of a class of naturally occurring soft greasy solids that are esters of glycerol and certain fatty acids. They are present in some plants and in the adipose tissue of animals, forming a reserve energy source, and are used in making soap and paint and in the food industrySee also oil (def. 1)
  2. vegetable or animal tissue containing fatRelated adjectives: adipose, lipoid, stearic
  3. corpulence, obesity, or plumpness
  4. the best or richest part of something
  5. a part in a play that gives an actor a good opportunity to show his talents
  6. chew the fat slang
    1. to argue over a point
    2. to talk idly; gossip
  7. the fat is in the fire an irrevocable action has been taken, esp one from which dire consequences are expected
  8. the fat of the land the best that is obtainable
adjective fatter or fattest
  1. having much or too much flesh or fat
  2. consisting of or containing fat; greasyfat pork
  3. profitable; lucrativea fat year
  4. affording great opportunitiesa fat part in the play
  5. fertile or productivea fat land
  6. thick, broad, or extendeda fat log of wood
  7. having a high content of a particular material or ingredient, such as resin in wood or oil in paint
  8. plentifully supplieda fat larder
  9. slang empty; stupidget this into your fat head
  10. slang very little or none; minimal (in phrases such as a fat chance, a fat lot of good, etc)
verb fats, fatting or fatted
  1. to make or become fat; fatten
Derived Formsfatless, adjectivefatlike, adjectivefatly, adverbfatness, nounfattish, adjective

Word Origin

Old English fǣtt, past participle of fǣtan to cram; related to Old Norse feita, Old High German feizen to fatten; compare Gothic fētjan to adorn


  1. Edmund. 1606–87, English poet and politician, famous for his poem "Go, Lovely Rose"
  2. Fats, real name Thomas Waller. 1904–43, US jazz pianist and singer
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for fats



Old English fætt "fat, fatted, plump, obese," originally a contracted past participle of fættian "to cram, stuff," from Proto-Germanic *faitaz "fat" (cf. Old Frisian fatt, Old Norse feitr, Dutch vet, German feist), from PIE *poid- "to abound in water, milk, fat, etc." (cf. Greek piduein "to gush forth"), from root *peie- "to be fat, swell" (cf. Sanskrit payate "swells, exuberates," pituh "juice, sap, resin;" Lithuanian pienas "milk;" Greek pion "fat, wealthy;" Latin pinguis "fat").

Teen slang meaning "attractive, up to date" (also later phat) is attested from 1951. Fat cat "privileged and rich person" is from 1928; fat chance "no chance at all" attested from 1906. Fathead is from 1842; fat-witted is from 1590s; fatso is first recorded 1944. Expression the fat is in the fire originally meant "the plan has failed" (1560s).



1801, from French domino (1771), perhaps (on comparison of the black tiles of the game) from the meaning "hood with a cloak worn by canons or priests" (1690s), from Latin dominus "lord, master" (see domain), but the connection is not clear. Klein thinks it might be directly from dominus, "because he who has first disposed his pieces becomes 'the master.' " Metaphoric use in geopolitics is from April 1954, first used by U.S. President Eisenhower in a "New York Times" piece, in reference to what happens when you set up a row of dominos and knock the first one down.



mid-14c.; see fat (v.). Figurative sense of "best or most rewarding part" is from 1560s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

fats in Medicine


  1. Any of various soft, solid, or semisolid organic compounds constituting the esters of glycerol and fatty acids and their associated organic groups.
  2. A mixture of such compounds occurring widely in organic tissue, especially in the adipose tissue of animals and in the seeds, nuts, and fruits of plants.
  3. Adipose tissue.
  4. Obesity; corpulence.
Related formsfat adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

fats in Science


  1. Any of a large number of oily compounds that are widely found in plant and animal tissues and serve mainly as a reserve source of energy. In mammals, fat, or adipose tissue, is deposited beneath the skin and around the internal organs, where it also protects and insulates against heat loss. Fat is a necessary, efficient source of energy. An ounce of fat contains more than twice as much stored energy as does an ounce of protein or carbohydrates and is digested more slowly, resulting in the sensation of satiety after eating. It also enhances the taste, aroma, and texture of food. Fats are made chiefly of triglycerides, each molecule of which contains three fatty acids. Dietary fat supplies humans with essential fatty acids, such as linoleic acid and linolenic acid. Fat also regulates cholesterol metabolism and is a precursor of prostaglandins. See more at saturated fat unsaturated fat.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

fats in Culture


Organic compounds that serve as a reserve of energy for the body. Fat is stored in the body's fat tissues, which provide support, protection, and insulation for the body and its organs. A balanced diet must include some fats because, in addition to providing energy for the body, they are necessary for the absorption of certain vitamins.


Many people consume too much fat in their diet; this imbalance can contribute to various diseases (such as disorders of the heart). Some fats, called saturated fats, have been found to raise the level of cholesterol in the blood, whereas other fats, called unsaturated fats, may help reduce blood cholesterol levels.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with fats


In addition to the idioms beginning with fat

also see:

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.