flat·ter | \ˈfla-tər \
flattered; flattering; flatters

Definition of flatter 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to praise excessively especially from motives of self-interest He flattered her with comments about how youthful she looks.

2a archaic : beguile sense 2

b : to encourage or gratify especially with the assurance that something is right I flatter myself that my interpretation is correct.

3a : to portray too favorably The portrait flatters him.

b : to display to advantage Candlelight often flatters the face.



Definition of flatter (Entry 2 of 2)

: one that flattens especially : a flat-faced swage used in smithing

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Other Words from flatter


flatterer \ˈfla-tər-ər \ noun

Examples of flatter in a Sentence


He flattered her with comments about her youthful appearance. It flattered her to be asked to sing at their wedding. That dress really flatters your figure.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Trump prefers the company of dictators who can flatter and be flattered. George Packer, The New Yorker, "Donald Trump Goes Rogue," 17 June 2018 Yet advisers say Trump considers Kim a rational actor, and the president has flattered the dictator recently with gratuitous praise. Philip Rucker, The Seattle Times, "The ‘dotard’ meets ‘Little Rocket Man’: Trump and Kim are adversaries with many similarities," 10 June 2018 The collection ranges in price from $14.50 to $109, goes up to size 44DD and includes a range of colors to flatter almost every skin tone. Hayley Phelan, New York Times, "Jeans of the Future," 9 May 2018 Even that weak figure is misleading, because a land price bubble is flattering the data. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "China’s Land Grab Could End Badly," 13 July 2018 There was no specific reason, but the generalities were flattering to her and endlessly degrading to those who’d spoken out against her. Daniel D'addario, Time, "Laura Ingraham Is Fox News's Problem, and Its Way Forward," 10 Apr. 2018 Maddison last month claimed that interest from the Premier League is flattering. SI.com, "Norwich Set £25m Asking Price for Tottenham & Chelsea Target James Maddison," 27 Mar. 2018 The player admitted feeling flattered by the speculation and there was even the usual social media nonsense after his wife, Rebeca Tavares, 'liked' a mocked up image posted on Instagram of her husband wearing a United shirt. SI.com, "Why Liverpool Did Not 'Beat' Man Utd to Summer Capture of £39m Midfielder Fabinho," 30 May 2018 But Moon has found common ground with his American counterpart by flattering Trump publicly. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, "What South Korea’s Moon has but Trump does not: A sky-high approval rating," 22 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The flatter the curve, the less profitable bank lending can be. Michael Wursthorn, WSJ, "Dow Industrial Average Manages Scant 2nd-Quarter Gain, Vexed By Trade Woes," 1 July 2018 On The Valley, there are straight downhill tee shots on the par 4 first and par 3 tenth holes, straight uphill approach shots on the par 4 ninth and par 3 18th, along with several flatter and more manageable layouts in between. Brent Kennedy, baltimoresun.com, "Hunt Valley Country Club," 11 July 2018 Towards dusk, as the two friends headed down from the falls into flatter, more open country, a crowd of villagers surrounded their car. The Economist, "From dusty villages to Delhi, Indians seek people to persecute," 5 July 2018 Ellipticals are thick, like round cakes of soap; disks are much flatter. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "Galaxy simulations are at last matching reality—and producing surprising insights into cosmic evolution," 30 May 2018 The most compelling of such works hang on the wall: Valerie Hegarty, Thomas Mailaender and Jesse Edwards have turned ceramics into imitations of paintings, photographs and TV sets, with the objects getting flatter as the illusionistic space deepens. Roberta Smith, Martha Schwendener, Will Heinrich And Jillian Steinhauer, New York Times, "What to See in New York Art Galleries This Week," 18 Apr. 2018 The relative movements in these maturities left the yield curve flatter, meaning the gap narrowed between short- and long-term rates. Bloomberg.com, "Mnuchin's Treasury Poised to Rev Up Supply as Budget Gap Widens," 26 Apr. 2018 The first had been a much flatter and shorter practice run down at sea level at Point Reyes National Seashore. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, "Yosemite backpacking with kids is worth a few tears," 26 Apr. 2018 Strong spreader bars at each end of the 90-inch-long hammock help maintain a flatter, tauter 42-inch width so the hammock doesn't fold in on you while you are suspended. Judi Dash, latimes.com, "These items help you find your stuff, ease your pain, make the cut and drift off to sleep," 23 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flatter.' 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 flatter


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1714, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for flatter


Middle English flateren, from Anglo-French flater to lap, flatter, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German flaz flat

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Phrases Related to flatter

flatter oneself

Statistics for flatter

Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for flatter

The first known use of flatter was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for flatter



English Language Learners Definition of flatter

: to praise (someone) in a way that is not sincere

: to cause (someone) to feel pleased by showing respect, affection, or admiration

: to show or describe (someone or something) in a way that is very favorable or too favorable


flat·ter | \ˈfla-tər \
flattered; flattering

Kids Definition of flatter

1 : to praise but not sincerely “You haven't changed since the day we met,” Grandpa flattered Grandma.

2 : to cause to feel pleased by showing respect or admiration I was flattered to be asked to sing at the wedding.

3 : to show as favorably as possible This picture flatters me.

4 : to make look more attractive That dress flatters you.

Other Words from flatter

flatterer noun

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Comments on flatter

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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