flat·​ten ˈfla-tᵊn How to pronounce flatten (audio)
flattened; flattening ˈflat-niŋ How to pronounce flatten (audio)

transitive verb

: to make flat: such as
: to make level or smooth
: to knock down
also : to defeat decisively
: to make dull or uninspired
often used with out
: to make lusterless
flatten paint
: to stabilize especially at a lower level

intransitive verb

: to become flat or flatter: such as
: to become dull or spiritless
: to extend in or into a flat position or form
: to become uniform or stabilized often at a new lower level
usually used with out
ˈflat-nər How to pronounce flatten (audio)

Example Sentences

Dozens of houses were flattened by the tornado. The boxer was flattened in the seventh round. The team got flattened in the first round of the play-offs. Prices are expected to flatten after the holiday shopping season.
Recent Examples on the Web Reluctant consumers have caused sales at Target Corp. to flatten for the first time after six years of sales growth, even as the Minneapolis retailer continues to see more shoppers walk through its doors and visit its website. Nicole Norfleet, Chicago Tribune, 17 May 2023 In Game 6, the Celtics trailed with less than five minutes left and their championship dreams were on the verge of being flattened. Adam Himmelsbach, BostonGlobe.com, 12 May 2023 The warhead is actually derived from the existing W76 warhead, each of which is large enough to flatten a city. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 1 May 2023 This product utilizes benzoyl peroxide at a 10% concentration to flatten and shrink the size of your pimple while reducing redness. Shannon Ullman, Verywell Health, 30 Apr. 2023 For a little more money, a person can choose what’s known as a down perm, which relaxes and flattens stubborn strands that stick out, creating a smoother appearance. Wilson Wong, New York Times, 29 Apr. 2023 Even the character's habit of snacking on creepy crawlies has been flattened into mere comic-book lore; the bugs are like spinach for Popeye, a means to a face-bashing end. A.a. Dowd, Chron, 12 Apr. 2023 Next possession, Hansbrough took a pass moving to the basket and Haslem flattened him. Dave Hyde, Sun Sentinel, 8 Apr. 2023 Neighborhoods and commercial businesses were flattened. Aya Elamroussi, CNN, 1 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'flatten.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1630, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of flatten was in 1630

Dictionary Entries Near flatten

Cite this Entry

“Flatten.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flatten. Accessed 4 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


flat·​ten ˈflat-ᵊn How to pronounce flatten (audio)
flattened; flattening ˈflat-niŋ How to pronounce flatten (audio)
: to make or become flat

More from Merriam-Webster on flatten

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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