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 five-piece collection, to be unveiled today at an in-store event at London’s flagship John Lewis store, brings together workwear essentials, including a versatile M&S crepe dress, flattering for all sizes, at just £19.50, or $24. Omid Scobie, Harper's BAZAAR, "How Duchess Meghan Brought the Smart Works Fashion Collection to Life," 12 Sep. 2019 Look for light before making your own The flash of an LED light from a smartphone doesn’t flatter anyone, no matter what pose you’re striking. Patrick Lucas Austin, Time, "Want to Take Better Smartphone Photos? Try These 10 Tips From Pro Photographers," 26 Aug. 2019 The implication then was that the wily operator could flatter and manipulate Trump while bullying the national security apparatus into enacting his hawkish agenda. Ishaan Tharoor, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Trump axes Bolton, the hawk he brought to the White House," 11 Sep. 2019 The implication then was that the wily operator could flatter and manipulate Trump while bullying the national security apparatus into enacting his hawkish agenda. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "Trump axes Bolton, the hawk he brought to the White House," 11 Sep. 2019 In passing asides and straight-to-camera avowals, Jason shares his strategies for flattering clients’ figures and playing to their personae. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "Why “Styling Hollywood” Is One of the Best Celebrity-Stylist Reality Shows," 30 Aug. 2019 Long before the invention of the assembly line or the cubicle, employees have been flattering their managers and laughing insincerely at bad jokes, and the approach hasn’t lost effectiveness with time. Chris Woolston, Quartz at Work, "How to deal with an abusive boss," 29 Aug. 2019 Gone are the days of Princess Grace and Jackie O gliding down the mountain at Gstaad wearing designer sunglasses, cashmere turtlenecks underneath chunky wool cable knits, and slim, flattering waterproof trousers. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "This Designer-Backed Women’s Ski Collection Will Actually Get You Excited For Winter," 29 Aug. 2019 But they are flattered that outsiders are interested, and insist on their right to parley with all comers. The Economist, "Greenlanders say Donald Trump should have asked them first," 24 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Today a big concern is deflation, and that concern tends to keep the yield curve flatter. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Econometer: Is the yield curve change a sign of a recession?," 23 Aug. 2019 Turns one and two to are higher-banked, sweeping turns where drivers can use a lot of throttle while turns three and four are flatter turns with a flatter entry, which cause the drivers to balance the steering, throttle and brake more. Jason Hoffman, Cincinnati.com, "Could Alex Bowman get second win and break Chevy's losing streak at the Quaker State 400?," 10 July 2019 The far side is more varied and pocked with craters than the flatter near side. Matthew W. Chwastyk, National Geographic, "Explore 50 years of lunar visits with our newest moon map," 17 June 2019 Geologists will want rock specimens from edges of crates and peaks, not just the flatter, less rocky areas the lunar lander can touch down on. Alex Stuckey, Houston Chronicle, "Listen: Experts look ahead to lunar buggies," 12 June 2019 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 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 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

4 Oct 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).


fear of the number 13

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