[ flat-er ]
See synonyms for: flatterflatteredflatteringflatterer on Thesaurus.com

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.

  1. to represent favorably; gratify by falsification: The portrait flatters her.

  2. to show to advantage: a hairstyle that flatters the face.

  3. to play upon the vanity or susceptibilities of; cajole, wheedle, or beguile: They flattered him into contributing heavily to the foundation.

  4. to please or gratify by compliments or attentions: I was flattered by their invitation.

  5. to feel satisfaction with (oneself), especially with reference to an accomplishment, act, or occasion: He flattered himself that the dinner had gone well.

  6. to beguile with hope; encourage prematurely, falsely, etc.

verb (used without object)
  1. to use flattery.

Origin of flatter

First recorded in 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 from unattested Frankish flat- flat1)

Other words from flatter

  • flat·ter·a·ble, adjective
  • flat·ter·er, noun
  • un·flat·ter·a·ble, adjective

Other definitions for flatter (2 of 2)

[ flat-er ]

  1. a person or thing that makes something flat.

  2. a flat-faced blacksmith's tool, laid on a forging and struck with a hammer to smooth the surface of the forging.

  1. a drawplate with a flat orifice for drawing flat metal strips, as for watch springs.

Origin of flatter

First recorded in 1705–15; flat1 + -er1

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use flatter in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for flatter (1 of 2)


/ (ˈflætə) /

  1. to praise insincerely, esp in order to win favour or reward

  2. to show to advantage: that dress flatters her

  1. (tr) to make to appear more attractive, etc, than in reality

  2. to play upon or gratify the vanity of (a person): it flatters her to be remembered

  3. (tr) to beguile with hope; encourage, esp falsely: this success flattered him into believing himself a champion

  4. (tr) to congratulate or deceive (oneself): I flatter myself that I am the best

Origin of flatter

C13: probably from Old French flater to lick, fawn upon, of Frankish origin

Derived forms of flatter

  • flatterable, adjective
  • flatterer, noun
  • flatteringly, adverb

British Dictionary definitions for flatter (2 of 2)


/ (ˈflætə) /

  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