\ 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 plural sagebrush 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

1 : flatten
2 : to lower in pitch especially by a half step

intransitive verb

: to sing or play below the true pitch

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Giving grew or stayed flat in eight of the nine major philanthropic sectors, with only education declining. Glenn Gamboa, ajc, 21 June 2022 Even though India’s defense budget has remained relatively flat, more than a quarter of funds now go to covering pensions, and costs are rising every year. Shams Irfan, Washington Post, 17 June 2022 But when her attempts fall flat, Faith resorts to violence, convinced she and Pete are truly meant to be. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, 10 June 2022 Another Biden administration effort that has appeared to fall flat is a decision to release a million barrels of oil daily from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. New York Times, 5 June 2022 At the age of thirty-three, with a wife and young daughter, Cronenberg was suddenly evicted from his flat. Adam Nayman, The New Yorker, 3 June 2022 Apple plans to keep iPhone production levels roughly flat in 2022 as global economic conditions diminish demand and supply chain issues hamper manufacturing, Bloomberg reported Thursday, citing sources familiar with the matter. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 26 May 2022 Chronically shy and suffering from debilitating anxiety, Natasha Abrahart, a physics student at the University of Bristol, was found dead in her flat in April 2018. Gus Alexiou, Forbes, 23 May 2022 Fine hair is fragile and can be difficult to curl for fear of breakage as well as its tendency to fall flat. Jessica Teich, Good Housekeeping, 19 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun These include a small flat in St. Petersburg, two Soviet-era cars from the 1950s and a small garage. Max Colchester, WSJ, 13 May 2022 It was designed for Olympic speed climbing, but this soft, sensitive flat also makes a stellar gym trainer. Owen Clarke, Outside Online, 27 May 2022 Beethoven wrote: No. 30 in E (Op. 109), No. 31 in A-flat (Op. 110) and No. 32 in C Minor (Op. 111). Washington Post, 29 Apr. 2022 No matter your style though, there's a flat for every one of your moods this spring. Nicol Natale, PEOPLE.com, 25 Mar. 2022 Marquardt persuaded an acquaintance to host a gathering of French Muslim intellectuals and a few other guests at his flat in the Seventh Arrondissement. New York Times, 31 Mar. 2022 But in all these cases, the seats are lie-flat (or close to it). Stefanie Waldek, Travel + Leisure, 31 Mar. 2022 Rodgers became the Packers’ all-time touchdown pass leader with an 11-yard throw in the right flat to receiver Allen Lazard in the first quarter. Ryan Wood, USA TODAY, 25 Dec. 2021 Time and time again, the royal style maven has turned to Sarah Flint's original flat. Sophie Dweck, Town & Country, 19 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Slanted and tilting bowls are suitable for any dog that struggles to reach food at the bottom of a regular bowl, due to their height or limited mobility, but brachycephalic or flat-faced breeds like Pugs get the most benefit. Lindsay Pevny, Popular Mechanics, 24 June 2022 On the fashion network, a flat-chested but pretty model is being interviewed. Etgar Keret, The New Yorker, 20 June 2022 This year, the buyer says, streaming is likely to see the most volume growth, with broadcast volume staying flat or rising just a tick. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 8 June 2022 But Norrøna’s Trolley duffel offers a cavernous 120 liters of storage space, thanks to a simple yet smart design feature that nixes the telescoping handle—and therefore the internal frame—in favor of flat-lying handles sewn into the top. Kaelyn Lynch, Outside Online, 27 May 2022 Strapped flat on his back in a straightjacket, he was tied to a gurney and injected with a cocktail of deadly drugs. Heather Chen, CNN, 27 May 2022 Most cooks prefer the flat-leaved Italian type, but the curly variety is also tasty and adds color when used as a garnish. San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 May 2022 To get the best view of the Eta Aquarid meteor shower, astronomers recommend laying down flat on your back. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 4 May 2022 Her look consisted of a guipure lace wrap dress with a Peter Pan collar, accentuated with a matching flat-brim hat and nude pumps. Kara Thompson, Town & Country, 27 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The process is pretty straightforward: Find a rough surface, and place the top of the can flat against it. Christopher Michel, Country Living, 20 Apr. 2022 By flatting the top, more main string gets lengthened, also improving control. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, 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, 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, 4 Oct. 2019 Brian Snyder, Arizona Republic One can flat shoot it. Duane Rankin, azcentral, 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, 12 July 2019 Plus, the dude can flat-out sing, though no one else matches his pitch-perfect acting turn. USA TODAY, 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, 29 Mar. 2019 See More

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.

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

Learn More About flat

Time Traveler for flat

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near flat



flat advertising rate

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Statistics for flat

Last Updated

28 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Flat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flat. Accessed 2 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for flat


\ 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



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

More from Merriam-Webster on flat

Nglish: Translation of flat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flat for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about flat


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