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

The overall answer was yes, but many noted that coral is especially flattering on the complexions of Koreans. Devon Abelman, Allure, "These Are the Biggest Makeup Trends in South Korea in 2019," 8 May 2019 In a market saturated with solid-colored skimpy string bikinis, it can be heard to find a suit that fits, flatters, and covers, plus comes in a fun summery print. Megan Decker, Harper's BAZAAR, "Charlotte Olympia and Adriana Degreas Team Up For The Cutest Swimwear Collaboration," 4 June 2018 Flying in a dozen Republican politicians to flatter him and praise his reckless policies changes nothing. Noah Bierman, latimes.com, "Trump meets with like-minded California 'sanctuary' foes and says Oakland's mayor should be investigated," 16 May 2018 Second half goals from Danny Welbeck and Aaron Ramsey confirmed the Gunners' progression in the tournament, but the scoreline flattered the visiting side. SI.com, "Arsenal Withstands CSKA Moscow Comeback, Reaches Europa League Semifinals," 12 Apr. 2018 But like other innovative brands such as Balenciaga and Jil Sander, Olderbrother’s clothes have a loose, oversize silhouette that doesn’t feel designed to flatter either gender specifically. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Who Needs Gender? Why Men and Women Are Dressing Identically," 21 Feb. 2019 Hambleton spent years searching for sandals that would both support and flatter her flat feet. Maria Carter, Country Living, "Why 'Grandma Shoes' Are Having a Moment," 26 May 2017 Despite a man of the match display against Arsenal, Lindelof has flattered to deceive in first season at United and a loan move could benefit both the player and his parent club. SI.com, "Newly Promoted Wolves Eye Surprise Loan Move for Manchester United Defender," 14 May 2018 Topping our list of all-time favorites are a select group of eight polishes that are flattering on virtually every skin tone. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "The Best Red Nail Polishes of All Time, for Valentine’s Day and Beyond," 12 Feb. 2019

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

31 May 2019

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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 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

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