flat·​ter | \ ˈfla-tər How to pronounce flatter (audio) \
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 How to pronounce flatterer (audio) \ 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

These sage comments come almost exactly a year after the[Fenty Beauty founder opened up to The Cut about learning to dress and flatter her ever-changing body type. Andrea Park, Allure, "Rihanna's Eyebrows Got a Pencil-Thin Makeover for Her British Vogue Cover," 1 Aug. 2018 Fans have grown used to the pair's PDA, so everyone was surprised when Gwen took a break from flattering Blake to tease him with an embarrassing throwback photo earlier this year. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Gwen Stefani Admitted the Sweetest Thing About Her Boyfriend Blake Shelton," 23 Feb. 2019 The bikini was simple and study, flattering Pippa's athletic build. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Pippa Middleton Packed a Biondi London Bikini for a Tropical Getaway With Her Family," 3 Jan. 2019 The Bush team knew when to push and when to stop, when to flatter and when to cajole. Josef Joffe, WSJ, "George Bush Led the Biggest Diplomatic Triumph Since Jefferson," 3 Dec. 2018 But the remote, which looks like an off-the-shelf part, isn’t flattering at all. Stefan Etienne, The Verge, "Evolve Bamboo GTX electric skateboard review: too fast, too furious," 31 Oct. 2018 Upon first try-on, the shorts looked a little...well...short, but flattering nonetheless. Hannah Dylan Pasternak, SELF, "I Tried Free Bleeding in Period-Proof Running Shorts," 30 Oct. 2018 The combination of brown and blonde-toned ombré shades and balayage looks is flattering on almost anyone and can be executed in a nearly-endless amount of ways. Kelsi Zimmerman, Allure, "21 Bronde Hair Ideas That Look Amazing on Everyone," 7 Oct. 2018 The dress, which costs $368 on Revolve, has a twisted fabric detail and slit on the left side for a revealing yet flattering effect. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "Candace Cameron Bure Wowed in a Rose Gold Dress at the Teen Choice Awards," 13 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Winter says the flatter the finish, the better—and the less likely your eye will pick those blemishes in the ceiling up. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Everything You've Ever Needed to Know About Painting Your Ceilings," 15 Mar. 2019 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

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

5 Apr 2019

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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 How to pronounce flatter (audio) \
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).


an enemy or opponent

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