utensils, as knives, forks, and spoons, used at the table for serving and eating food.
dishes or containers for the table that are more or less flat, as plates and saucers (distinguished from hollowware).

Origin of flatware

First recorded in 1850–55; flat1 + ware1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for flatware

Contemporary Examples of flatware

  • Melanie walked past the table that had been set for two with fancy china and flatware and out to the Truman Balcony.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Meet the First Female President

    Nicolle Wallace

    October 17, 2010

Historical Examples of flatware

  • Little of this, understandably, was likely to have been thrown away or lost, except for an occasional piece of flatware.

  • He frequently decorated his flatware with a refined etching or gravure, his hollow ware with reeding.

    Seaport in Virginia

    Gay Montague Moore

  • She loved the flatware—it always made her think of a wedding—sometimes of her own.

    Ptomaine Street

    Carolyn Wells

  • His flatware is usually distinguished by a shell motif, and gadroon edges finish and decorate many of his pieces.

    Seaport in Virginia

    Gay Montague Moore

British Dictionary definitions for flatware


noun US and Canadian

any relatively flat tableware such as plates, saucers, etcCompare hollowware
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 flatware

1851, from flat (adj.) + ware (n.). Originally as distinguished from hollow ware; U.S. sense of "domestic cutlery" recorded by 1895.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper