flatter

1
[flat-er]
See more synonyms for flatter 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.
  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)
  1. to use flattery.

Origin of flatter

1
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 for flattering

complimentary, favorable

Examples from the Web for flattering

Contemporary Examples of flattering

Historical Examples of flattering

  • She was bending forward, smiling, flattering her escort with the adoration of her eyes.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • Europe may enslave Asia, because it is flattering: but Europe must not free Asia, because that is responsible.

    Alarms and Discursions

    G. K. Chesterton

  • Oh, counshillor, now, if you wouldn't be flattering a wake woman.

  • The reception of the news by the other evening papers was most flattering.

  • I take it as the reverse of flattering to be supposed that I have any liking for such a ninny as you are.


British Dictionary definitions for flattering

flatter

1
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
Derived Formsflatterable, adjectiveflatterer, nounflatteringly, adverb

Word Origin for flatter

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

flatter

2
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

Word Origin and History for flattering
adj.

late 14c., "pleasing to the imagination," present participle adjective from flatter. Meaning "gratifying to self-esteem" is from 1757. Related: Flatteringly.

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