flatter

1
[flat-er]

verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for unflattering

Contemporary Examples of unflattering

Historical Examples of unflattering

  • Already he could feel that hate was a strong passion, not unflattering to its object.

    The Genius

    Margaret Horton Potter

  • "I never heard her say anything about you," Theodora said, with unflattering directness.

    Teddy: Her Book

    Anna Chapin Ray

  • He is a rival before whom your senses wince as before some unflattering image.

  • He was apologetic for his unflattering doubt, but of what sort was she?

    The Trail of the Hawk

    Sinclair Lewis

  • "You're an utter ass," said Clint with unflattering conviction.

    Left Guard Gilbert

    Ralph Henry Barbour



British Dictionary definitions for unflattering

unflattering

adjective

not flatteringin an unflattering light

flatter

1

verb

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
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

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
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 unflattering
adj.

1580s, from un- (1) "not" + gerundive of flatter. Related: Unflatteringly.

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