flat

adjective
\ 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

flat

noun

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

flat

adverb

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

flat

verb
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from flat

Adjective

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for flat

Synonyms: Adjective

even, exact, precise, round

Synonyms: Noun

apartment, diggings [chiefly British], digs, lodgings, suite, tenement

Synonyms: Adverb

all, all of, all over, altogether, clean, completely, dead, enough, entire, entirely, even, exactly, fast, full, fully, heartily, out, perfectly, plumb [chiefly dialect], quite, soundly, thoroughly, through and through, totally, utterly, well, wholly, wide

Antonyms: Adverb

half, halfway, incompletely, part, partially, partly

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for flat

Adjective

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

In the central city, which has seen some of the most intense apartment development and where rents are highest, rates remain relatively flat. Elliot Njus, oregonlive, "Portland-area rents are growing faster," 30 Aug. 2019 At last count, women made up about 15% of advisers—a percentage that has remained relatively flat for the past couple years. Fortune, "Why More Clients Want Female Financial Advisers: The Broadsheet," 27 Aug. 2019 But his poll numbers remain largely flat — garnering 1-to-2 percent support in most early states, with a larger following in Texas and in some recent national surveys. NBC News, "Beto O'Rourke vows to confront Trump directly in return to campaign trail," 16 Aug. 2019 But the news wasn’t so good for the climate in other sectors, including industry, where emissions remained essentially flat. Los Angeles Times, "California’s planet-warming emissions declined in 2017, even as its biggest pollution source keeps rising," 12 Aug. 2019 But San Antonio officials have so far ruled out such a measure and proposed that the tax rate remain flat, which will still bring in more money than last year because of increased property valuations. Joshua Fechter, ExpressNews.com, "Proposed San Antonio budget climbs 3 percent to $2.9 billion amid financial pressures," 8 Aug. 2019 While spending on most back-to-school items is expected to remain flat this year, electronics sales are projected to rise by 29 percent, according to Deloitte. Paul Takahashi, Houston Chronicle, "Back-to-school costs add up for Houston families," 6 Aug. 2019 Overall total revenues have remained flat over the past decade at about $45 million per year, with $27.6 million projected in 2020 for municipal income tax collections, then about $6.7 million in property taxes. Thomas Jewell, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Heights’ budget kickoff leads to federal consent decree discussion," 4 Aug. 2019 But in recent years, the caps have remained flat or not kept pace with inflation. Annysa Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "So, how much does it cost to educate a child in Wisconsin?," 30 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Cornerback Vincent Gray was in good position on a deep ball, and then came up to make a stop at the line of scrimmage in the flat near the goal line. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football observations: Offense looks good vs. Middle Tennessee State," 31 Aug. 2019 Eroded silt covered their spring, ponds, and reef flats. Wade Graham, Smithsonian, "Why Molokai, With All Its Wonders, Is the Least Developed of Hawai’i’s Islands," 31 Aug. 2019 While the Cannes Film Festival may implement some strict sartorial regulations (who could forget the flats controversy of 2015?), there's a bit more wiggle room at the Venice Film Festival. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Elsa Hosk Takes Killer Abs to the Red Carpet at the Venice Film Festival," 29 Aug. 2019 The Upper Harraseeket River in Maine is one of the few remaining mud flats productive for clamming, now that shellfish harvests are often restricted for months at a time due to toxic algal blooms. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "The Frightening Spread of Toxic Algae," 28 Aug. 2019 To start the 990v5 process, the factory floor needs flats full of pigskin hide. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "Everything That Goes Into Making a New Balance Sneaker," 23 Aug. 2019 The Giorgetti, a seven-story boutique midrise, features 32 flats ranging from 2,700 to 6,800 square feet, with four penthouse options. Valerie Sweeten, Houston Chronicle, "Condo Life on the Market: Focus on the luxury Upper Kirby lifestyle," 17 Aug. 2019 When the Lake Dunlap spillgate failed without warning in May, residents watched the water recede, exposing large mud flats for the first time in almost a century. San Antonio Express-News, "Lakefront landowners left high and dry," 15 Aug. 2019 These flats feel like house slippers but look like sophisticated, sleek loafers that are great for any office. Brittany Loggins, NBC News, "11 amazing items to make life easier — created by and for working moms," 14 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

The couple’s relationship was put under the spotlight like never before during the leadership campaign after police were called to an argument at Symonds’s south London flat. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Boris Johnson has a girlfriend (as well as a wife) and the tabloids are going nuts," 26 July 2019 Receiving the serve on match point, Komatineni ripped a forehand sizzler that left Lofgren flat-footed to win the set 7-6 on the tiebreak and taking the match win. Luke Feliciano, Cincinnati.com, "In his first-ever appearance, Niraj Komatineni wins 2019 Cincinnati Met singles tournament," 24 July 2019 In the first treatment group, researchers kept the cockroach population flat, but could not reduce it. Fox News, "Cockroaches are getting 'closer to invincibility,' scientists warn," 4 July 2019 The rise in deaths from prescription opioids stabilized around 2010, the point where the original study ran out of data, and has been roughly flat since. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Medical marijuana vs. opioid abuse: New study questions the connection," 13 June 2019 Fact check: What was true, less than true ... and flat-out false. Petra Cahill, NBC News, "Democrats second debate Night 1: Who came out ahead and who didn't? The Morning Rundown," 31 July 2019 Last year’s excursion left those who took the journey flat-footed for weeks afterward. Matt Porter, BostonGlobe.com, "NHL seeing little movement on restricted free agents," 27 July 2019 Previous SlideNext Slide Formula E's once infamous mid-race car swap is a thing of the past now thanks to a bigger (54kWh) battery, but these vehicles are still about 30% short of having enough energy to race flat-out the entire time. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Formula E five years on: Cars Technica grades the electric racing series," 23 July 2019 Frog and leaves: Concave or flat, these handmade concrete leaves with frogs come small to really large and would look perfect near a water feature or the edge of a garden. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Colorful, whimsical or classic, yard art can enhance your garden’s overall appeal," 3 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 And his board can reach tighter, shallower spots and motor-free zones that flats boats can’t. John Clarke, WSJ, "The New Fishing Vessel of Choice? Stand-Up Paddleboards," 15 Aug. 2018 Get ready to kiss your little leopard flats goodbye because camo-print loafers are going to be your go-to, everyday shoe for sure! Jasmine Snow, Seventeen, "Fashion Trends," 12 June 2013 Instead, the cycling startup wants to bring to bear a new strategy that gets rid of the bike rack, and perhaps more audaciously, allows members to flat-out own the bikes and make money off each rental. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "In This Bike-Sharing Plan, You Buy a $1,000 Cycle and Rent It Yourself," 13 Mar. 2015

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.

See More

First Known Use of flat

Adjective

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

Noun

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

Adverb

1531, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for flat

flat

adjective

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

flat

noun

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

flat

adverb

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

flat

adjective
\ 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.

flat

noun

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

flat

adverb

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

flat

adjective
\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

flat

adjective

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

flat

adverb

Legal Definition of flat (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on flat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flat

Spanish Central: Translation of flat

Nglish: Translation of flat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flat for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about flat

Comments on flat

What made you want to look up flat? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

miscellaneous remnants or debris

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!