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 flatter (audio) \ noun

Examples of flatter in a Sentence

Verb 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 Dellinger, knowing that Breyer is a Francophile, wanted Obama to flatter Breyer with the post. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "Why Stephen Breyer is resisting liberal pleas for him to retire," 11 Apr. 2021 Some people may project their fantasies on you and flatter you with their attention. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for March 24, 2021: Happy birthday Jim Parsons; Pisces, focus on focused career success," 24 Mar. 2021 At the opening, politicians lined up to flatter the company in the most obsequious terms. Sarah Leonard, The New Republic, "How Amazon Exploited a Weakened America," 2 Apr. 2021 Spanx knows exactly how to shape and flatter a woman's body for a comfy, confident fit, even with a skirt. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, "Tennis Skorts Are the Trend Princess Diana Did Better Than Anyone Else—And They're Finally Back," 19 Mar. 2021 The Father did tie for the second-most nominations with six, but that total may flatter to deceive. Nate Jones, Vulture, "After the Oscar Nominations, Who’s the Early Leader in Best Picture?," 18 Mar. 2021 The techniques used by the communicators in each case were: (a) to let Jobs explain his idea first; (b) to flatter Jobs in another area; (c) to appeal to Jobs’ fighting spirit; and (d) to keep asking questions. Steve Denning, Forbes, "How To Change (Almost) Anyone’s Mind," 28 Feb. 2021 Made from premium, non-stretch Japanese denim for the most authentic, vintage feel, Everlane gave its best-selling jeans a ‘90s twist with an easy straight leg, a super-high high rise, and a rear fit designed to flatter—and boost—your butt. Nicola Fumo, Forbes, "40 Of The Best Jeans For Women, In Every Size And Style," 10 Mar. 2021 Flavored with garlic and onions and sautéed to seal the grain to avoid clumping, the process guarantees a polished mound of beautiful, fragrant rice to flatter all those glorious stews. Beth Segal, cleveland, "Porotos Ganados, Moqueca Bahaina, Carapulcra and more: Stews full of comfort from South America," 14 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The signs have long since been phased out by San Francisco officials for a flatter, decidedly less cool design, but Zotto was able to recreate their distinctive font using historic photos. Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle, "San Francisco finally has its own font. And the inspiration was truly historic," 19 Apr. 2021 Thats because the blue light tends to enhance all those imperfections that a soft glow flatters. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "How to Create a Well-Lit Bathroom Once and For All," 26 Feb. 2020 Claflin and Munn, the film's de facto leads, fare quite a measure worse, owing to their substantial lack of chemistry and line readings that fall flatter than a drunken uncle at the reception. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to watch (and skip) via VOD and Netflix this weekend," 10 Apr. 2020 The graph has two slopes, an extremely steep one and another that is much flatter and extends over a longer period of time. Anna Kuchment, Dallas News, "Is it too late to stop the coronavirus?," 14 Mar. 2020 The rest of it, including the typeface, has a flatter and more modern look. Jordan Valinsky, CNN, "BMW redesigns its iconic logo," 4 Mar. 2020 The increasing recognition and growth of impact investing and venture capital focused on social impact startups bode well for the future and will play a key role in making the world flatter and a better place for all. Rishad Premji, Quartz India, "New technologies have historically led to increased inequality—not anymore," 9 Feb. 2020 The flatter the stroke angle relative to the surface, the longer the paddle required to make solid contact with the water. The Editors, Outdoor Life, "Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Kayak Paddle," 18 Nov. 2019 Surprisingly, even with all the extra recoil and muzzle blast, this cartridge will not shoot any flatter than most 6.5s. Richard Mann, Field & Stream, "10 Best Long-Range Hunting Cartridges," 3 May 2019

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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Time Traveler for flatter

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for flatter

Last Updated

19 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Flatter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flatter. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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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Comments on flatter

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