- to try to please by complimentary remarks or attention.
- to praise or compliment insincerely, effusively, or excessively: She flatters him by constantly praising his books.
- to represent favorably; gratify by falsification: The portrait flatters her.
- to show to advantage: a hairstyle that flatters the face.
- to play upon the vanity or susceptibilities of; cajole, wheedle, or beguile: They flattered him into contributing heavily to the foundation.
- to please or gratify by compliments or attentions: I was flattered by their invitation.
- to feel satisfaction with (oneself), especially with reference to an accomplishment, act, or occasion: He flattered himself that the dinner had gone well.
- to beguile with hope; encourage prematurely, falsely, etc.
- to use flattery.
Origin of flatter1
Origin of flatter2
- horizontally level: a flat roof.
- level, even, or without unevenness of surface, as land or tabletops.
- having a surface that is without marked projections or depressions: a broad, flat face.
- lying horizontally and at full length, as a person; prostrate: He was flat on the canvas after the knockdown.
- lying wholly on or against something: The banner was flat against the wall.
- thrown down, laid low, or level with the ground, as fallen trees or buildings.
- having a generally level shape or appearance; not deep or thick: a flat plate.
- (of the heel of a shoe) low and broad.
- spread out, as an unrolled map or the open hand.
- deflated; collapsed: a flat tire.
- absolute, downright, or positive; without qualification: a flat denial.
- without modification or variation: a flat rate.
- Informal. lacking money; broke.
- without vitality or animation; lifeless; dull: flat writing.
- having lost its flavor, sharpness, or life, as wine or food; stale.
- (of a beverage) having lost its effervescence.
- without flavor; not spiced: flat cooking.
- prosaic, banal, or insipid: a flat style.
- pointless, as a remark or joke.
- commercially inactive: a flat day in the stock market.
- (of a painting) not having the illusion of volume or depth.
- (of a photograph or painting) lacking contrast or gradations of tone or color.
- (of paint) without gloss; not shiny; mat.
- not clear, sharp, or ringing, as sound or a voice.
- lacking resonance and variation in pitch; monotonous: a flat delivery of the speech.
- (of a tone) lowered a half step in pitch: B flat.
- below an intended pitch, as a note; too low (opposed to sharp).
- Grammar. derived without change in form, as English to brush from the noun brush and adverbs that do not add -ly to the adjective form as fast, cheap, and slow.
- Phonetics. lenis; voiced.
- Nautical. (of a sail)
- cut with little or no fullness.
- trimmed as nearly fore-and-aft as possible, for sailing to windward.
- flat a, the a-sound (a) of glad, bat, or act.
- something flat.
- a shoe, especially a woman's shoe, with a flat heel or no heel.
- a flat surface, side, or part of anything: He struck me with the flat of his hand.
- flat or level ground; a flat area: salt flats.
- a marsh, shoal, or shallow.
- (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.
- Theater. a piece of scenery consisting of a wooden frame, usually rectangular, covered with lightweight board or fabric.
- a broad, thin book, chiefly for children: a juvenile flat.
- Informal. a deflated automobile tire.
- (in postal use) a large flat package, as in a manila envelope, for mailing.
- Architecture. a flat roof or deck.
- 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.
- an iron or steel bar of rectangular cross section.
- Textiles. one of a series of laths covered with card clothing, used in conjunction with the cylinder in carding.
- Photography. one or more negatives or positives in position to be reproduced.
- Printing. a device for holding a negative or positive flat for reproduction by photoengraving.
- Horticulture. a shallow, lidless box or tray used for rooting seeds and cuttings and for growing young plants.
- a similar box used for shipping and selling fruits and vegetables.
- Football. the area of the field immediately inside of or outside of an offensive end, close behind or at the line of scrimmage.
- flats, Informal. flat races between horses.Compare flat race.
- to make flat.
- Music. to lower (a pitch), especially one half step.
- to become flat.
- in a flat position; horizontally; levelly.
- in a flat manner; positively; absolutely.
- completely; utterly: flat broke.
- exactly; precisely: She ran around the track in two minutes flat.
- Music. below the true pitch: to sing flat.
- Finance. without interest.
- flat in, Nautical. to pull the clew of (a fore-and-aft sail) as nearly amidships as possible.Also flatten in.
- fall flat, to fail to produce the desired effect; fail completely: His attempts at humor fell flat.
- flat aft, Nautical. trimmed so that fore-and-aft sails present as flat a surface as possible, as in sailing close to the wind.
- flat on one's back. back1(def 47).
- flat out, Informal.
- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for flatter
Americans may flatter themselves that they are governed more lightly than other advanced countries.America's Kludgeocracy Democracy
December 11, 2012
Book three will have to contend with postmodern times—the end of history, and the birth of a greyer, flatter world.This Week’s Hot Reads: Sept. 10, 2012
September 10, 2012
My suggestion to conservative writers: candidates for high office are already surrounded by people paid to flatter them.Comrade Ryan's Plan Has 110% Approval!
August 16, 2012
In recent years, Wall Street investors have managed to flatter themselves with talk of being “job creators” and “risk takers.”Jack Hitt Examines Why Amateurs Are the Job Creators
June 9, 2012
It goes without saying that the media landscape will be flatter.Andrew Breitbart Dies at 43: Why He’ll Be Missed
March 1, 2012
Very well; she might flatter herself that she had for a mother a most famous hussy.The Dream
His speech was not eloquent, nor did it flatter the Leopard Woman, but it was to the point.The Leopard Woman
Stewart Edward White
I do not give you all this account, my good Sir, to flatter you.The Letters of Robert Burns
Does R—— flatter himself that his power over my heart is omnipotent?
I believe it's to flatter me you say this, for that song is my writing.
- to praise insincerely, esp in order to win favour or reward
- to show to advantagethat dress flatters her
- (tr) to make to appear more attractive, etc, than in reality
- to play upon or gratify the vanity of (a person)it flatters her to be remembered
- (tr) to beguile with hope; encourage, esp falselythis success flattered him into believing himself a champion
- (tr) to congratulate or deceive (oneself)I flatter myself that I am the best
- a blacksmith's tool, resembling a flat-faced hammer, that is placed on forged work and struck to smooth the surface of the forging
- a die with a narrow rectangular orifice for drawing flat sections
- horizontal; levelflat ground; a flat roof
- even or smooth, without projections or depressionsa flat surface
- lying stretched out at full length; prostratehe lay flat on the ground
- having little depth or thickness; shallowa flat dish
- (postpositive often foll by against) having a surface or side in complete contact with another surfaceflat against the wall
- spread out, unrolled, or levelled
- (of a tyre) deflated, either partially or completely
- (of shoes) having an unraised or only slightly raised heel
- mainly British
- (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
- without qualification; totala flat denial
- without possibility of change; fixeda flat rate
- (prenominal or immediately postpositive) neither more nor less; exacthe did the journey in thirty minutes flat; a flat thirty minutes
- unexciting or lacking point or interesta flat joke
- without variation or resonance; monotonousa flat voice
- (of food) stale or tasteless
- (of beer, sparkling wines, etc) having lost effervescence, as by exposure to air
- (of trade, business, a market, etc) commercially inactive; sluggish
- (of a battery) fully discharged; dead
- (of a print, photograph, or painting) lacking contrast or shading between tones
- (of paint) without gloss or lustre; matt
- (of a painting) lacking perspective
- (of lighting) diffuse
- (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)
- phonetics another word for lenis
- flat a phonetics the vowel sound of a as in the usual US or S Brit pronunciation of hand, cat, usually represented by the symbol (æ)
- in or into a prostrate, level, or flat state or positionhe held his hand out flat
- completely or utterly; absolutelyhe went flat against the rules
- exactly; preciselyin three minutes flat
- lower than a standard pitch
- too low in pitchshe sings flat Compare sharp (def. 18)
- fall flat to fail to achieve a desired effect, etc
- flat out informal
- with the maximum speed or effort
- totally exhausted
- a flat object, surface, or part
- (often plural) a low-lying tract of land, esp a marsh or swamp
- (often plural) a mud bank exposed at low tide
- an accidental that lowers the pitch of the following note by one chromatic semitoneUsual symbol: ♭
- a note affected by this accidentalCompare sharp (def. 19)
- theatre a rectangular wooden frame covered with painted canvas, etc, used to form part of a stage setting
- a punctured car tyre
- the flat mainly British ((often cap.))
- flat racing, esp as opposed to steeplechasing and hurdling
- the season of flat racing
- nautical a flatboat or lighter
- US and Canadian a shallow box or container, used for holding plants, growing seedlings, etc
- to make or become flat
- music the usual US word for flatten (def. 3)
- a set of rooms comprising a residence entirely on one floor of a buildingUsual US and Canadian name: apartment
- British and NZ a portion of a house used as separate living quarters
- NZ a house shared with people who are not members of one's own family
- Australian and NZ to live in a flat (with someone)
Word Origin and History for flatter
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.
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.).
Idioms and Phrases with flatter
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