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flatter1

[flat-er]
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.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to use flattery.
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Origin of flatter1

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 formsflat·ter·a·ble, adjectiveflat·ter·er, nounflat·ter·ing·ly, adverbhalf-flat·tered, adjectivehalf-flat·ter·ing, adjectivehalf-flat·ter·ing·ly, adverbun·flat·ter·a·ble, adjectiveun·flat·tered, adjectiveun·flat·ter·ing, adjectiveun·flat·ter·ing·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

lackeycharmersycophanttoadyboosterbootlickerpufferbackscratcherflunkeycajoler

Examples from the Web for flatterers

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • But flatterers and petitioners were already after the triumphant young master.

    His Masterpiece

    Emile Zola

  • This just shows me how sensible I have been in never listening to flatterers.

  • This is the hour of darkness: the hour when flatterers rule and are believed.

    Past and Present

    Thomas Carlyle

  • I suspect that your flatterers have not given you a fair chance.

    Old Ebenezer

    Opie Read

  • We must keep our boys, as I said, from association with all bad men, but especially from flatterers.


British Dictionary definitions for flatterers

flatter1

verb
  1. to praise insincerely, esp in order to win favour or reward
  2. to show to advantagethat dress flatters her
  3. (tr) 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. (tr) to beguile with hope; encourage, esp falselythis success flattered him into believing himself a champion
  6. (tr) to congratulate or deceive (oneself)I flatter myself that I am the best
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Derived Formsflatterable, adjectiveflatterer, nounflatteringly, adverb

Word Origin

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

flatter2

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
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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 flatterers

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper