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

Youthful lips tend to have substantial volume and turn up naturally at the corners, meaning the best strategy for flattering them often comes down to a good signature lip color. Chloe Atkins, Vogue, "Preventative Botox is Real—But It Could Be Aging You," 1 Aug. 2018 Unfortunately for Meghan's four-legged friend, the angle for the picture was less than flattering. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Was Meghan Markle Actually Spotted Walking Her Dog Outside Kensington Palace?," 12 Sep. 2018 The Hunt for Red October and the Ryan stories that follow are flattering to the kinds of amateur historian readers and viewers who’ve turned themselves into experts on high-tech weaponry and classic battle strategy. Noel Murray, The Verge, "Before Amazon’s Jack Ryan, Alec Baldwin played the definitive version of the character in Hunt for Red October," 31 Aug. 2018 Will The Wave Top, Bottom, and Long Sleeve One Piece—in multiple colors that combine delicate details, techy qualities (think: quick-drying fabric with UV protection) and an overall beautiful, figure-flattering silhouette. Health.com, "Lululemon Launched a Swim Collection, and We Want Everything," 14 May 2018 The wrap style blouse is particularly flattering on those with a larger chest and smaller waist. NBC News, "Work looks for millennial women this spring," 6 Apr. 2018 Thanks to swimwear retailer Swimsuits for All, plus size women now have a range of stylish bathing-suit options that were designed to flatter their bodies. Madison Alcedo, Woman's Day, "These Super Cute Plus Size Swimsuits Will Make You So Excited for Summer," 13 Jan. 2017 This shape is also especially flattering for women with rounder faces. Redbook, "Audrey's Outfit of the Day: Classic Sunglasses that Work on Everyone," 21 June 2011 This is also why Lear believes the false expressions of love from his eldest daughters, Goneril and Regan, while banishing his youngest, Cordelia, who truly loves him but refuses to flatter him. Paula Marantz Cohen, WSJ, "Shakespeare’s Uncomfortable Message for Baby Boomers," 26 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Pale neutrals like champagne, gold, and silver flatter everyone. Victoria Kirby, Redbook, "Mirror-Free Makeup Tips," 2 Dec. 2011 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

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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Statistics for flatter

Last Updated

27 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for flatter

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on flatter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flatter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flatter

Spanish Central: Translation of flatter

Nglish: Translation of flatter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flatter for Arabic Speakers

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 complex dispute or argument

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