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flatter1

[flat-er] /ˈflæt ər/
verb (used with object)
1.
to try to please by complimentary remarks or attention.
2.
to praise or compliment insincerely, effusively, or excessively:
She flatters him by constantly praising his books.
3.
to represent favorably; gratify by falsification:
The portrait flatters her.
4.
to show to advantage:
a hairstyle that flatters the face.
5.
to play upon the vanity or susceptibilities of; cajole, wheedle, or beguile:
They flattered him into contributing heavily to the foundation.
6.
to please or gratify by compliments or attentions:
I was flattered by their invitation.
7.
to feel satisfaction with (oneself), especially with reference to an accomplishment, act, or occasion:
He flattered himself that the dinner had gone well.
8.
to beguile with hope; encourage prematurely, falsely, etc.
verb (used without object)
9.
to use flattery.
Origin of flatter1
1175-1225
1175-1225; Middle English flat(t)eren to float, flutter, fawn upon, Old English floterian to float, flutter; for sense development, cf. flicker1, Old Norse flathra; reinforced by Old French flatter to flatter, literally, to stroke, caress (probably < Frankish *flat- flat1)
Related forms
flatterable, adjective
flatterer, noun
flatteringly, adverb
half-flattered, adjective
half-flattering, adjective
half-flatteringly, adverb
unflatterable, adjective
unflattered, adjective
unflattering, adjective
unflatteringly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for unflattering
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Already he could feel that hate was a strong passion, not unflattering to its object.

    The Genius

    Margaret Horton Potter
  • "I never heard her say anything about you," Theodora said, with unflattering directness.

    Teddy: Her Book Anna Chapin Ray
  • He is a rival before whom your senses wince as before some unflattering image.

    Fantazius Mallare Ben Hecht
  • He was apologetic for his unflattering doubt, but of what sort was she?

    The Trail of the Hawk Sinclair Lewis
  • "You're an utter ass," said Clint with unflattering conviction.

    Left Guard Gilbert Ralph Henry Barbour
British Dictionary definitions for unflattering

unflattering

/ʌnˈflætərɪŋ/
adjective
1.
not flattering: in an unflattering light

flatter1

/ˈflætə/
verb
1.
to praise insincerely, esp in order to win favour or reward
2.
to show to advantage: that dress flatters her
3.
(transitive) to make to appear more attractive, etc, than in reality
4.
to play upon or gratify the vanity of (a person): it flatters her to be remembered
5.
(transitive) to beguile with hope; encourage, esp falsely: this success flattered him into believing himself a champion
6.
(transitive) to congratulate or deceive (oneself): I flatter myself that I am the best
Derived Forms
flatterable, adjective
flatterer, noun
flatteringly, adverb
Word Origin
C13: probably from Old French flater to lick, fawn upon, of Frankish origin

flatter2

/ˈflætə/
noun
1.
a blacksmith's tool, resembling a flat-faced hammer, that is placed on forged work and struck to smooth the surface of the forging
2.
a die with a narrow rectangular orifice for drawing flat sections
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
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Word Origin and History for unflattering
adj.

1580s, from un- (1) "not" + gerundive of flatter. Related: Unflatteringly.

flatter

v.

early 13c., from Old French flater "to flatter" (13c.), originally "stroke with the hand, caress," from Frankish *flat "palm, flat of the hand" (see flat (adj.)). "[O]ne of many imitative verbs beginning with fl- and denoting unsteady or light, repeated movement" [Liberman]. Related: Flattered; flattering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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