\ 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 flattish (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 Louisiana is not seeing a major uptick yet -- indeed, reported cases have been flat here since late August -- but there is no reason to believe the state will escape what is fast becoming a nationwide trend. Jeff Asher, NOLA.com, "Jeff Asher analysis: Signs of 3rd wave of coronavirus are present, but no reason to panic," 9 Oct. 2020 Intraday trading on all of the major indices was relatively flat Tuesday, but the Nasdaq Composite, the S&P 500, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average had all crept up roughly 0.5% on the day. Tyler Van Dyke, Washington Examiner, "Stocks slide after Trump tweets end to stimulus negotiations," 6 Oct. 2020 School funding has been flat for years, which means cuts at the local level as expenses increase. Anchorage Daily News, "Candidate Q&A: Alaska Senate District 18 — Harriet A. Drummond," 3 Oct. 2020 The total of community members who have been hospitalized for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic was flat at 124. Brian Compere, baltimoresun.com, "Data: Carroll County sees COVID-19 cases rise over last week, as well as from August to September," 2 Oct. 2020 Bayer now expects sales to be flat next year instead of growing at roughly 4%, and sales this year to grow between 0% and 1% to between €43 billion and €44 billion, equivalent to between $50.41 billion and $51.58 billion, excluding currency effects. Ruth Bender, WSJ, "Bayer to Cut More Costs as Farm Business Hurts," 30 Sep. 2020 Kaplan said oil production should be flat next year. Catarina Saraiva, Bloomberg.com, "Policymakers Should Have Freedom to Lift Rates, Kaplan Says," 29 Sep. 2020 Apartment building permits were flat for the year in Houston, and multifamily building permits were up almost 35% in the Austin area for the year ending in August. Steve Brown, Dallas News, "Dallas-area apartment building permits are down," 29 Sep. 2020 Google shares are flat in pre-market trading this morning. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "Investors look to buck a four-week losing streak, sending global stocks higher," 28 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Earlier this month, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks granted preliminary landmark status to the red-brick two-flat in where Till lived with his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, who insisted on the open casket at her son’s funeral. Blair Kamin, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Chicago church where thousands viewed Emmett Till’s open casket is named to list of nation’s most endangered places," 24 Sep. 2020 And to think, her first wholesale deal — a flat of native violets sold to Dennis’ 7 Dees decades ago — was made out of the back of a 1956 station wagon filled with kids. oregonlive, "Oregon native plant specialist aims to inspire customers to care for the Earth," 10 Sep. 2020 The Jaguars scored on the game’s third play, as Trotter hit Tolbert in the right flat. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, "South Alabama shocks Southern Miss 32-21 for first road win in 3 years," 4 Sep. 2020 Others raised the possibility that the two-flat could become a house museum. Blair Kamin, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Emmett Till House takes first step toward landmark status as questions are raised about its future," 3 Sep. 2020 Try a classic flat in the form of these Leigh T-Logo sneakers, which are up for grabs for $159.90 (originally $268)—an incredible savings of 40%. Arielle Tschinkel And Nicole Briese, USA TODAY, "Tory Burch bags and boots are majorly discounted right now at Nordstrom," 22 Aug. 2020 This house in Bellagio, Italy offers guests a private flat with access to a spacious pool that overlooks Lake Como. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "These Are the Most "Liked" Airbnb Summer Rentals on Instagram," 22 June 2020 But for many others, their own flat will now be their safe space. Frank Trentmann, The New Republic, "The Unequal Future of Consumption," 10 Aug. 2020 In time he was caught red-handed with a flat of night crawlers and hit bottom when he was photographed, grinning, with a stringer of walleyes in each hand, a minnow bucket at his feet. Star Tribune, "Restoring and casting centuries-old salmon rods helps keep pandemic at bay," 30 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Tendency to get flat-footed at times but shows good recovery ability and willingness to mix it up at the line of scrimmage. oregonlive, "Keith Brown, Oregon Ducks pledge and Lebanon star, opts out of early graduation, will play high school football," 7 Oct. 2020 At a manufacturing plant in Warren, Mich., General Motors designed and produced its own flat-fold N95. Washington Post, "The N95 shortage America can’t seem to fix," 21 Sep. 2020 Other potential manufacturers went through the same challenges as GM, failing tests and making flat-fold N95s that experts worry do not offer a tight enough seal. Jessica Contrera, Anchorage Daily News, "N95 masks save lives. So why are they still hard to get this far into a pandemic?," 21 Sep. 2020 Carpenter then caught Gonzalez flat-footed for a strikeout. Bryce Miller Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Bruce Bochy, Adrian Gonzalez revisit Padres’ last playoff trip in 2006," 19 Sep. 2020 But only defender Maynor Figueroa was the only one that followed Quintero’s shot and deposited the rebound into the open goal while the Loons, particularly Molino nearby, were caught flat-footed. Jerry Zgoda, Star Tribune, "Minnesota United blows two-goal lead, settles for draw with Houston," 19 Sep. 2020 Unless platforms take additional, proactive steps soon, the United States will be caught flat-footed against disinformation and distrust—whether those seeds are planted by online trolls or the sitting president. Ann Ravel, Wired, "Democracy Will Only Work If the Social Media Giants Grow Up," 19 Sep. 2020 But … everyone was caught flat-footed (with Sally). al, "Long lines for fuel, boats damaged: Coastal Alabama cleans up from Sally," 18 Sep. 2020 James is the most valuable player, the most influential player and the flat-out best player as the conference finals rage on. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "MVP award eludes Lakers’ LeBron James, but he’ll get over it," 19 Sep. 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

13 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Flat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flat. Accessed 24 Oct. 2020.

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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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