\ ˈflat How to pronounce flat (audio) \
flatter; flattest

Definition of flat

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : lying at full length or spread out upon the ground : prostrate The soldiers were lying flat on the ground.
b : utterly ruined or destroyed buildings flat from the blast
c : resting with a surface against something Push the chairs flat against the wall.
2a : having a continuous horizontal surface the flat landscape of the prairie
b : being or characterized by a horizontal line or tracing without peaks or depressions a flat EEG
3 : having a relatively smooth or even surface a flat computer disk
4 : arranged or laid out so as to be level or even maps flat on the desk
5a : having the major surfaces essentially parallel and distinctly greater than the minor surfaces a flat piece of wood
b of a shoe heel : very low and broad flat shoes for work
6a : clearly unmistakable a flat denial
b(1) : not varying : fixed a flat rate
(2) : having no fraction either lacking or in excess : exact in a flat 10 seconds
(3) of a frequency response : not varying significantly throughout its range
7a : lacking in animation, zest, or vigor : dull He spoke in a flat, tired voice.
b : lacking flavor : tasteless The stew is too flat.
c : lacking effervescence or sparkle flat ginger ale
d : commercially inactive also : characterized by no significant rise or decline from one period to another sales were flat
e of a tire : lacking air : deflated
f chiefly British, of a battery : dead sense 3c, discharged
8a(1) of a tone : lowered a half step in pitch
(2) : lower than the proper pitch
b of the vowel a : pronounced as in bad or bat
9a : having a low trajectory (see trajectory sense 1) made a flat pass that was intercepted
b of a tennis stroke : made so as to give little or no spin to the ball
10 : not having an inflectional ending flat adverbs
11 of a sail : taut
12a : uniform in hue or shade figures standing out against a background of flat wash
b : having little or no illusion of depth
c of a photograph or negative : lacking contrast
d of lighting conditions : lacking shadows or contours
e : free from gloss : having a nonreflective finish a flat paint
f : two-dimensional sense 3 flat characters
13 : of, relating to, or used in competition on the flat a flat horse
14 of a universe : having a mass such that expansion halts only after infinite time and collapse never occurs



Definition of flat (Entry 2 of 4)

1a : a level surface of land usually used in pluralsagebrush flatstidal flats
b : a stretch of land without obstacles especially : a track or course for a flat race usually used with the has won twice on the flat
2 : a flat part or surface the flat of one's hand
3a : a musical note or tone one half step lower than a specified note or tone
b : a character ♭ on a line or space of the musical staff indicating a half step drop in pitch
4 : something flat: such as
a : a shallow container for shipping produce
b : a shallow box in which seedlings are started
c : a flat piece of theatrical scenery
d : a shoe or slipper having a flat heel or no heel
5 chiefly British : an apartment on one floor
6 : a deflated tire
7 : the area to either side of an offensive football formation



Definition of flat (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : in a flat manner : directly, positively
2 : in a complete manner : absolutely flat broke
3 : below the proper musical pitch
4 : without interest charge especially : without allowance or charge for accrued interest bonds sold flat


flatted; flatting

Definition of flat (Entry 4 of 4)

transitive verb

2 : to lower in pitch especially by a half step

intransitive verb

: to sing or play below the true pitch

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Other Words from flat


flatly adverb
flatness noun
flattish \ ˈfla-​tish How to pronounce flat (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for flat

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adverb

Antonyms: Adverb

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Choose the Right Synonym for flat


level, flat, plane, even, smooth mean having a surface without bends, curves, or irregularities. level applies to a horizontal surface that lies on a line parallel with the horizon. the vast prairies are nearly level flat applies to a surface devoid of noticeable curvatures, prominences, or depressions. the work surface must be flat plane applies to any real or imaginary flat surface in which a straight line between any two points on it lies wholly within that surface. the plane sides of a crystal even applies to a surface that is noticeably flat or level or to a line that is observably straight. trim the hedge so it is even smooth applies especially to a polished surface free of irregularities. a smooth skating rink

insipid, vapid, flat, jejune, banal, inane mean devoid of qualities that make for spirit and character. insipid implies a lack of sufficient taste or savor to please or interest. an insipid romance with platitudes on every page vapid suggests a lack of liveliness, force, or spirit. an exciting story given a vapid treatment flat applies to things that have lost their sparkle or zest. although well-regarded in its day, the novel now seems flat jejune suggests a lack of rewarding or satisfying substance. a jejune and gassy speech banal stresses the complete absence of freshness, novelty, or immediacy. a banal tale of unrequited love inane implies a lack of any significant or convincing quality. an inane interpretation of the play

Examples of flat in a Sentence

Adjective the flat top of the table the flat landscape of the prairie Coins are usually round and flat. a flat piece of wood Noun the flat of your hand the flat of a sword Adverb Lay the map flat on the desk. He slipped and landed flat on his back. We asked for more time but they turned us down flat.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Mafaldine is a long, flat and wide pasta with a ruffle to its edges. Aleksandra Crapanzano, WSJ, "These Chefs’ Recipes Make Pasta Exciting Again," 15 Jan. 2021 The goal was to either hit David Njoku in the flat or Harrison Bryant delaying behind him. cleveland, "How the Browns offense can take advantage of a Steelers defense without T.J Watt and other key starters -- Film Review," 31 Dec. 2020 The Labor Department will release its numbers on hiring and unemployment for the month next week, and Swonk expects hiring to have been flat or negative. Nelson D. Schwartz, BostonGlobe.com, "Unemployment claims dipped but remained high during Christmas week," 31 Dec. 2020 Clay soils in low or flat areas often stay too wet to support healthy roots for many species. oregonlive, "Careful winter pruning may help avoid disturbing early nesting hummingbirds: Ask an expert," 26 Dec. 2020 Flakes are light and flat and have the texture of sea salt. Ana Sanchez, chicagotribune.com, "The best salt," 23 Dec. 2020 Highly supportive for hard driving yet surprisingly comfortable, these cloth and leatherette thrones are a huge improvement over the comparatively flat and plain-looking fabric chairs in our long-term car. Mike Sutton, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2021 Hyundai Veloster N DCT Gets Quicker and Comfier," 22 Dec. 2020 Skeptics blamed climate fluctuations, but locals point to another culprit: the pumps that draw brine from below the surface of the flat and the water evaporation pools that can be thousands of feet long and hundreds of feet wide. Ian Morse, Quartz, "Chile’s new constitution could rewrite the story of lithium mining," 22 Dec. 2020 The statewide positivity rate has declined to 8.7%, and most regions of the state continue to see flat or declining test positivity rates as well. Kevin Bessler, Washington Examiner, "First COVID-19 vaccine arrives in Illinois for distribution Tuesday," 15 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun On second-and-goal from the 10, Lawrence a touchdown pass to Cornell Powell in the right flat. Chris Dabe, NOLA.com, "Ohio State routs Clemson in Sugar Bowl, will face Alabama for national title," 1 Jan. 2021 Part of the problem with that is that quick bubble screens and 2-yard throws in the flat can become far too predictable and can produce diminished returns over time. Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY, "Here are tweaks Seahawks, Ravens and 2 other NFL playoff contenders should consider," 12 Dec. 2020 The incredible display normally doesn’t stop with the yard, which is blanketed in light-up Christmas figurines: the entire inside of his one-floor flat will be decorated as well. Tara Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Eight Elaborate Christmas Displays Across America—and the People Behind Them," 9 Dec. 2020 Irving is 17, the youngest of seven siblings, and lives in a two-flat in Chicago’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood with her mother, her sister, her niece and the star of her three-minute film — her 4-year-old nephew, Ja’King Jones. Mary Schmich, chicagotribune.com, "Column: This filmmaking program allows young women ‘cycle breakers’ to share what they see in the world," 13 Nov. 2020 Without any opposition, Sweat shot his hands into the air to deflect and intercept a Dalton pass intended for Elliott in the right flat. Michael Gehlken, Dallas News, "In a season of relentless injuries, losing Zack Martin, Cam Erving hits Cowboys’ battered offensive line hard," 26 Nov. 2020 Over in Oxford, Maggie has pulled up to her new flat in a taxi with no correct currency to pay for it. Ruth Kinane, EW.com, "A Million Little Things season 3 premiere recap: Will Eddie survive?," 20 Nov. 2020 On the next play, Stafford hit Hockenson, the second-year tight end, on the right flat near the sideline for 13 yards. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions needed a miracle to beat Atlanta Falcons. Todd Gurley gave them one," 25 Oct. 2020 Lewis was open right away, streaking out of the backfield to the right flat. Pat Leonard, courant.com, "Giants notebook: Flag pickup on two-point conversion was correct call; does Golden Tate want to be traded?," 3 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb And this year, his comments on COVID-19 have been bizarre, lacking perspective and just flat-out wrong. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: What happened to Dabo Swinney? Even as Clemson wins, he loses with out-of-touch stances," 30 Dec. 2020 It’s offered in eight flat-shooting, pronghorn capable cartridges, but .243 Winchester seems just about perfect. Richard Mann, Field & Stream, "The 11 Best Pronghorn Rifles," 4 Sep. 2020 The algorithms behind online tools may reflect the choices developers make, and those choices may be biased or just flat-out wrong. Lisa Ward, WSJ, "Data Privacy in the Age of Online Learning," 8 Dec. 2020 As instructed, Matt chased after her, running flat-out to where the chest-high bluestem hit a mowed field. Alex Robinson, Outdoor Life, "How to Kill Pheasants with Your Wild-Ass Retriever," 4 Dec. 2020 But to flat-out shut down gyms and deny responsible people the opportunity to help improve their health? Star Tribune, "Readers Write: New virus restrictions, pause on youth sports, COVID vaccine," 19 Nov. 2020 The This Is Us writers have flat-out denied the popular fan theory that Laurel will end up being Randall's new therapist. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'This Is Us' Creator Drops Serious Bombshell About Randall's Mom in Season 5," 11 Nov. 2020 Chances hovered between slim and absolutely, flat-out none. Bryce Miller Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Aztecs finally hurdle UCLA’s longtime scheduling resistance," 10 Nov. 2020 Once again, his perfect completion streak to start the game ended with a flat-out drop by one of his receivers. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Ohio State football survives Rutgers' high-wire act in 49-27 victory," 8 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb By flatting the top, more main string gets lengthened, also improving control. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "Tennis Racket Technology Is Way More Elaborate Than You Think," 21 Jan. 2020 Lead is harmful at any dose, and especially toxic to the nervous system; arsenic can flat-out kill you, the inspector general wrote. Zoë Schlanger, Quartz, "A superfund site in Montana sold bags of hazardous waste as souvenirs," 19 Nov. 2019 The main assumptions are 11 million barrels a day of crude oil production, Brent flat at $65 a barrel, net refining margins of $3 a barrel and chemicals net margins of $100 a tonne. Washington Post, "Aramco’s Cash Flow Gets the Royal Treatment," 4 Oct. 2019 Brian Snyder, Arizona Republic One can flat shoot it. Duane Rankin, azcentral, "What Cameron Johnson, Ty Jerome and Jalen Lecque can bring to the Suns now, in the future," 3 July 2019 Thoughtfully, my mother suspected this might be the case, and a few days before the wedding found an ideal backup: Manolo Blahnik flats with ample space for injured toes. Alexandra Macon, Vogue, "“The Age of Innocence on Acid” Was the Design Directive For This Wedding at the National Arts Club," 12 July 2019 Plus, the dude can flat-out sing, though no one else matches his pitch-perfect acting turn. USA TODAY, "Review: Endearing, imperfect 'Yesterday' imagines a world without The Beatles," 26 June 2019 The fashionable royal has shown us that flats like knee-high boots and sneakers can be just as stylish (and functional) on the job, and yesterday was no exception. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Jokes About Changing from High Heels to Combat Boots," 29 Mar. 2019 The curve was also this flat a few times where no inversion or recession followed and stocks did well, such as in the mid-1990s. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "Afraid of the Yield Curve? You’re Looking at the Wrong One," 6 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flat.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of flat


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1531, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1604, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for flat

Adjective, Noun, Adverb, and Verb

Middle English, from Old Norse flatr; akin to Old High German flaz flat, and probably to Greek platys broad — more at place

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Time Traveler for flat

Time Traveler

The first known use of flat was in the 14th century

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Statistics for flat

Last Updated

23 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Flat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flat. Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for flat

How to pronounce flat (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of flat

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: having a smooth, level, or even surface : not having curves or bumps
: having a wide, smooth surface and little thickness
of a shoe heel : very low and wide also, of a shoe : having a flat heel or no heel



English Language Learners Definition of flat (Entry 2 of 3)

: a level area of land
: a flat part or surface
: a musical note that is one semitone lower than a specified note



English Language Learners Definition of flat (Entry 3 of 3)

: on or against a flat surface
: in the position of someone or something that is lying spread out on the ground or another surface
: exactly or precisely
\ ˈflat How to pronounce flat (audio) \
flatter; flattest

Kids Definition of flat

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : having a smooth level surface a flat rock
2 : spread out on or along a surface He was lying flat on his back.
3 : having a broad smooth surface and little thickness A CD is flat.
4 : very clear and definite a flat refusal
5 : not changing in amount I charge a flat rate.
6 : not showing active business Sales are flat.
7 : dull entry 1 sense 3 a flat story She spoke in a flat, tired voice.
8 : having lost air a flat tire
9 : no longer having bubbles flat ginger ale
10 : lower than the true musical pitch
11 : lower by a half step in music
12 : not shiny flat paint

Other Words from flat

flatly adverb He flatly refused to help.



Kids Definition of flat (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a level area of land : plain
2 : a flat part or surface the flat of the hand
3 : a note or tone that is a half step lower than the note named
4 : a sign ♭ meaning that the pitch of a musical note is to be lower by a half step
5 : a tire that has lost air



Kids Definition of flat (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : on or against a flat surface lie flat
2 : without any time more or less : exactly ten seconds flat
3 : below the true musical pitch
\ ˈflat How to pronounce flat (audio) \
flatter; flattest

Medical Definition of flat

1 : being or characterized by a horizontal line or tracing without peaks or depressions the EEG is ominously flat indicating that her brain function is gone— Don Gold
2 : characterized by general impoverishment in the presence of emotion-evoking stimuli flat affect often occurs in schizophrenia

Other Words from flat

flatness noun

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Legal Definition of flat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not varying a flat rate specifically, of a tax : having a rate that remains constant for any taxable base



Legal Definition of flat (Entry 2 of 2)

: without interest charge especially : without allowance or charge for accrued interest bonds sold flat

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Comments on flat

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