adjective, flat·ter, flat·test.
- (of a tone) lowered a half step in pitch: B flat.
- below an intended pitch, as a note; too low (opposed to sharp).
- cut with little or no fullness.
- trimmed as nearly fore-and-aft as possible, for sailing to windward.
- (in musical notation) the character ♭, which when attached to a note or to a staff degree lowers its significance one chromatic half step.
- a tone one chromatic half step below another: The flat of B is B flat.
- (on keyboard instruments, with reference to any given note) the key next below or to the left.
- Also called platform.a partial deck between two full decks.
- a low, flat barge or lighter.
- a broad, flat piece of iron or steel for overlapping and joining two plates at their edges.
- a straight timber in a frame or other assembly of generally curved timbers.
verb (used with object), flat·ted, flat·ting.
verb (used without object), flat·ted, flat·ting.
- without hesitation; directly or openly: He told us flat out he'd been a double agent.
- at full speed or with maximum effort.
Origin of flat1
Synonyms for flat
Antonyms for flat
Origin of flat2
Examples from the Web for flats
Contemporary Examples of flats
One that they cannot cash in at the bank to pay for their flats.One Vogue Cover Doesn’t Solve Fashion’s Big Race Problem
January 2, 2015
Real estate was a hot investment for the moneyed of China, but as the market cooled down in many cities, flats were left empty.China’s Concubine Culture Lives On in Mistress Villages
April 14, 2014
Feather had recorded as a pianist, and although he would never put Oscar Peterson out of business, he knew his sharps and flats.Music Criticism Has Degenerated Into Lifestyle Reporting
March 18, 2014
The wounded warrior in front of me rode so well, and so fast, dusting me in the flats, that for a while I forgot he was a veteran.At the Wounded Warrior 100K, How George W. Bush Really Rolls
May 26, 2013
I shuffle through the sheet music, avoiding tunes in keys with more than two sharps or flats, until I hit on “Old Shanghai.”Beck’s Album ‘Song Reader’ Is All Sheet Music. We Take It for a Spin
December 29, 2012
Historical Examples of flats
The flats are very grassy, but the hills are covered with spinifex.Explorations in Australia
Twenty times I must have gone up and down the staircase which separated our two flats.My Double Life
Within a very few minutes of her entering the flats there remained no doubt at all.The Avenger
E. Phillips Oppenheim
Steps were on the stairs, but they stopped at one of the flats below.Jan and Her Job
L. Allen Harker
The rope had parted, and they were left helpless on the flats.
adjective flatter or flattest
- (of races, racetracks, or racecourses) not having obstacles to be jumped
- of, relating to, or connected with flat racing as opposed to steeplechasing and hurdlingflat jockeys earn more
- (immediately postpositive)denoting a note of a given letter name (or the sound it represents) that has been lowered in pitch by one chromatic semitoneB flat
- (of an instrument, voice, etc) out of tune by being too low in pitchCompare sharp (def. 12)
- lower than a standard pitch
- too low in pitchshe sings flat Compare sharp (def. 18)
- with the maximum speed or effort
- totally exhausted
- an accidental that lowers the pitch of the following note by one chromatic semitoneUsual symbol: ♭
- a note affected by this accidentalCompare sharp (def. 19)
- flat racing, esp as opposed to steeplechasing and hurdling
- the season of flat racing
verb flats, flatting or flatted
Word Origin for flat
verb flats, flatting or flatted (intr)
Word Origin for flat
"level tidal tract," 1540s, from flat (n.) "level piece of ground" (late 12c.), from flat (adj.).
early 14c., from Old Norse flatr, from Proto-Germanic *flataz (cf. Old Saxon flat "flat, shallow,: Old High German flaz "flat, level," Old English flet, Old High German flezzi "floor"), perhaps from PIE *plat- "to spread" (cf. Greek platys "broad, flat;" see plaice (n.)).
Sense of "prosaic, dull" is from 1570s; used of drink from c.1600; of musical notes from 1590s, because the tone is "lowered." Flat-out (adv.) "openly, directly" is from 1932; earlier it was a noun meaning "total failure" (1870, U.S. colloquial).
1801, from Scottish flat "floor or story of a house," from Old English flet "a dwelling, floor, ground," from the same source as flat (adj.).
In addition to the idioms beginning with flat
- flat as a pancake
- flat broke
- flat on one's back
- flat out
- caught flat-footed
- fall flat
- in no time (nothing flat)
- leave flat