flat·​tery | \ ˈfla-tə-rē How to pronounce flattery (audio) \
plural flatteries

Definition of flattery

1a : the act or practice of flattering She uses the art of flattery to her advantage.
b(1) : something that flatters A compliment is flattery— Harry Shaw
(2) : insincere or excessive praise He tried to win his teacher's favor with flattery.
2 obsolete : a pleasing self-deception

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Examples of flattery in a Sentence

He tried to win his teacher's favor with flattery. a talk show host who is known for charming her guests with disingenuous flattery

Recent Examples on the Web

Ariana Grande is one of the most popular singers in the world, and her style inspires millions of followers on social media — but in this case imitation is not a form of flattery. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Ariana Grande suing Forever 21 for $10 million for using look-alike model and copying music video," 4 Sep. 2019 With flattery and French politesse, President Emmanuel Macron delicately maneuvered around Trump, partly by playing to the President’s ego. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, "Trump’s Weird Whoppers at the G-7 Summit," 27 Aug. 2019 The left should bestow upon David Koch the sincerest form of flattery: Imitation. Adam Eichen, The New Republic, "How David Koch’s 1980 Fantasy Became America’s Current Reality," 27 Aug. 2019 Despite widespread skepticism that Kim will give up his nuclear weapons program, Trump is attempting to coax Kim back into negotiations with flattery and by offering to help him achieve a better economic future for his country. Matthew Lee, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump showers praise on North Korean dictator after missile tests rattle region," 2 Aug. 2019 Host Levi kicked off the awards with some flattery and zingers aimed at the celebrities in attendance. Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY, "MTV Movie & TV Awards: 5 moments you missed, including a cringeworthy joke, stunt doubles," 18 June 2019 Ryan Reynolds makes an uncredited cameo in the film as a CIA agent who is a very big fan of Johnson’s character Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Maria Pasquini, PEOPLE.com, "Dwayne Johnson & Ryan Reynolds Show Off Matching Tattoos in Behind-the-Scenes Hobbs & Shaw Photo," 10 Aug. 2019 Perhaps that’s because foreign leaders and their intelligence agencies who have been closely studying Trump since his election have come to believe that flattery is an effective way to curry favor with the publicity-minded president. Josh Lederman, NBC News, "'Nobody expected this moment' — the top takeaways from Trump's trip to Asia," 1 July 2019 Get our daily newsletter Many foreign leaders have realised that Mr Trump enjoys vacuous flattery. The Economist, "Trump Heights, Binyamin Netanyahu’s tribute to America’s president," 22 June 2019

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for flattery

see flatter entry 1

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Statistics for flattery

Last Updated

8 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for flattery

The first known use of flattery was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for flattery



English Language Learners Definition of flattery

: praise that is not sincere


flat·​tery | \ ˈfla-tə-rē How to pronounce flattery (audio) \
plural flatteries

Kids Definition of flattery

: praise that is not deserved or meant

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More from Merriam-Webster on flattery

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flattery

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flattery

Spanish Central: Translation of flattery

Nglish: Translation of flattery for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flattery for Arabic Speakers

Comments on flattery

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authorized for issue (as a bond)

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