\ ˈflat How to pronounce flat (audio) \
flatter; flattest

Definition of flat

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : lying at full length or spread out upon the ground : prostrate The soldiers were lying flat on the ground.
b : utterly ruined or destroyed buildings flat from the blast
c : resting with a surface against something Push the chairs flat against the wall.
2a : having a continuous horizontal surface the flat landscape of the prairie
b : being or characterized by a horizontal line or tracing without peaks or depressions a flat EEG
3 : having a relatively smooth or even surface a flat computer disk
4 : arranged or laid out so as to be level or even maps flat on the desk
5a : having the major surfaces essentially parallel and distinctly greater than the minor surfaces a flat piece of wood
b of a shoe heel : very low and broad flat shoes for work
6a : clearly unmistakable a flat denial
b(1) : not varying : fixed a flat rate
(2) : having no fraction either lacking or in excess : exact in a flat 10 seconds
(3) of a frequency response : not varying significantly throughout its range
7a : lacking in animation, zest, or vigor : dull He spoke in a flat, tired voice.
b : lacking flavor : tasteless The stew is too flat.
c : lacking effervescence or sparkle flat ginger ale
d : commercially inactive also : characterized by no significant rise or decline from one period to another sales were flat
e of a tire : lacking air : deflated
f chiefly British, of a battery : dead sense 3c, discharged
8a(1) of a tone : lowered a half step in pitch
(2) : lower than the proper pitch
b of the vowel a : pronounced as in bad or bat
9a : having a low trajectory (see trajectory sense 1) made a flat pass that was intercepted
b of a tennis stroke : made so as to give little or no spin to the ball
10 : not having an inflectional ending flat adverbs
11 of a sail : taut
12a : uniform in hue or shade figures standing out against a background of flat wash
b : having little or no illusion of depth
c of a photograph or negative : lacking contrast
d of lighting conditions : lacking shadows or contours
e : free from gloss : having a nonreflective finish a flat paint
f : two-dimensional sense 3 flat characters
13 : of, relating to, or used in competition on the flat a flat horse
14 of a universe : having a mass such that expansion halts only after infinite time and collapse never occurs



Definition of flat (Entry 2 of 4)

1a : a level surface of land usually used in pluralsagebrush flatstidal flats
b : a stretch of land without obstacles especially : a track or course for a flat race usually used with the has won twice on the flat
2 : a flat part or surface the flat of one's hand
3a : a musical note or tone one half step lower than a specified note or tone
b : a character ♭ on a line or space of the musical staff indicating a half step drop in pitch
4 : something flat: such as
a : a shallow container for shipping produce
b : a shallow box in which seedlings are started
c : a flat piece of theatrical scenery
d : a shoe or slipper having a flat heel or no heel
5 chiefly British : an apartment on one floor
6 : a deflated tire
7 : the area to either side of an offensive football formation



Definition of flat (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : in a flat manner : directly, positively
2 : in a complete manner : absolutely flat broke
3 : below the proper musical pitch
4 : without interest charge especially : without allowance or charge for accrued interest bonds sold flat


flatted; flatting

Definition of flat (Entry 4 of 4)

transitive verb

2 : to lower in pitch especially by a half step

intransitive verb

: to sing or play below the true pitch

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Other Words from flat


flatly adverb
flatness noun
flattish \ ˈfla-​tish How to pronounce flattish (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for flat

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adverb

Antonyms: Adverb

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Choose the Right Synonym for flat


level, flat, plane, even, smooth mean having a surface without bends, curves, or irregularities. level applies to a horizontal surface that lies on a line parallel with the horizon. the vast prairies are nearly level flat applies to a surface devoid of noticeable curvatures, prominences, or depressions. the work surface must be flat plane applies to any real or imaginary flat surface in which a straight line between any two points on it lies wholly within that surface. the plane sides of a crystal even applies to a surface that is noticeably flat or level or to a line that is observably straight. trim the hedge so it is even smooth applies especially to a polished surface free of irregularities. a smooth skating rink

insipid, vapid, flat, jejune, banal, inane mean devoid of qualities that make for spirit and character. insipid implies a lack of sufficient taste or savor to please or interest. an insipid romance with platitudes on every page vapid suggests a lack of liveliness, force, or spirit. an exciting story given a vapid treatment flat applies to things that have lost their sparkle or zest. although well-regarded in its day, the novel now seems flat jejune suggests a lack of rewarding or satisfying substance. a jejune and gassy speech banal stresses the complete absence of freshness, novelty, or immediacy. a banal tale of unrequited love inane implies a lack of any significant or convincing quality. an inane interpretation of the play

Examples of flat in a Sentence

Adjective the flat top of the table the flat landscape of the prairie Coins are usually round and flat. a flat piece of wood Noun the flat of your hand the flat of a sword Adverb Lay the map flat on the desk. He slipped and landed flat on his back. We asked for more time but they turned us down flat.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Maybe Turner is flat after battling Nikola Jokic and Rudy Gobert within 24 hours. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Unlike last season's team, Pacers venture out West from a position of strength," 18 Jan. 2020 But at the snap, Wilks has Schobert bail into hook-flat coverage. cleveland, "The case for Browns coach Kevin Stefanski bringing Steve Wilks back; and the case for why Wilks could be let go -- Film review," 17 Jan. 2020 Reishi, Shiitake & Caramelized Brown Rice Tea Reishi, the flat, brown polypore (also known as ling-zhi) has been touted to reduce cholesterol and enhance immune systems. Ellen Fort, Sunset Magazine, "The Ultimate Mushroom Trip? A Foraging Weekend in Big Sur," 15 Jan. 2020 Wood, even high-quality trim lumber, is not always square and flat, so some effort is involved in creating acceptable, not perfect, joints. James Dulley, Dallas News, "Do your own finish carpentry to lower costs," 12 Jan. 2020 American Airlines American also offers fully lie-flat seating. Louis Cheslaw, Condé Nast Traveler, "Where to Find Lie-Flat Seats on Domestic Flights," 3 Jan. 2020 While most scores are now updated on an electronic scoreboard with the push of a button, here, stacks of flat, rectangular, metal plates of varying sizes lay around, waiting to get the job done. Adeline Chen, CNN, "Scorekeeper secrets: How Wrigley Field's historic scoreboard has seen it all," 27 Dec. 2019 Bend knees, place feet flat on the floor about shoulder-width apart. Mallory Creveling, Health.com, "The 5-Move Resistance Band Workout for a Strong Butt," 16 Dec. 2019 The store had stools, the kind that folded flat, perfect for storing in a small apartment. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "A Simple Stool DIY For Extra Holiday Party Seating," 12 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Patients in all these neighborhoods confront housing shortages, so families become overcrowded in small flats. Shefali Luthra, chicagotribune.com, "In Hamburg, ‘gesundheit’ means more than a wish for good health," 23 Oct. 2019 At the snap, Brissett stuck the ball in Marlon Mack’s belly, pulled it quickly, saw the defense closing on him, and popped it over two defenders and into Jack Doyle’s hands in the right flat. Albert Breer, SI.com, "From Brissett to Bridgewater to Jones (and Minshew!), Young QBs Steal the Spotlight," 23 Sep. 2019 Chiefs 38, Bengals 17 10:49 p.m.: Rookie quarterback Ryan Finley found RB Jordan Ellis in the flats for a 10-yard TD. Tyler Dragon, Cincinnati.com, "Analysis: Cincinnati Bengals lose 38-17 to Kansas City Chiefs in NFL Preseason opener," 10 Aug. 2019 Avoid hobbling down Georgetown’s cobblestone roads in heels, or trying to climb a broken Metro escalator in wet flats, by wearing flip-flops or sneakers to commute and changing at the office. Chelsea Cirruzzo, Washington Post, "Welcome to D.C., summer interns," 17 June 2019 However, Dobbins lost two yards on a reception in the flats — the first negative play of the drive. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Early red zone chances haunted Ohio State football late in Fiesta Bowl loss to Clemson: Buckeye Rewatch," 30 Dec. 2019 Then tight end Jordan Akins broke Patrick Chung’s attempted tackle in the right flat and scampered 19 yards. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Texans stun Tom Brady, Patriots to knock New England from top AFC seed," 2 Dec. 2019 The Patriots couldn’t handle tight ends Hayden Hurst, Nick Boyle and Mark Andrews in the flats and downfield. Mike Preston, baltimoresun.com, "Mike Preston’s report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 37-20 win over Patriots," 3 Nov. 2019 Within hours to days, the only signs of recent water works are debris piles and mud flats. Mare Czinar, azcentral, "Don't be put off by the unimpressive beginning. This AZ hike leads to dramatic red rocks," 19 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb But until owners admit they’re uncomfortable with, or flat-out don’t want, men of color as the faces of their franchises, nothing is ever going to change. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: NFL owners know the league has a diversity problem and they don't care," 9 Jan. 2020 Squeeze out as much air as possible, seal the zipper, and lay the bags flat on a tray for freezing. BostonGlobe.com, "Freeze those ripe tomatoes for the middle of winter, when they’ll brighten a dreary day - The Boston Globe," 10 Sep. 2019 The couple's relationship was put under the spotlight like never before during the leadership campaign after police were called to an argument at Symonds's south London flat. Sheena Mckenzie, CNN, "Think Boris Johnson breaks the mold? Wait until you meet his girlfriend," 26 July 2019 What the mid-2000s are to flat ironed bangs, the 1990s were for Romantic Comedies. Danny Murphy, Marie Claire, "My Best Friend's Wedding," 14 Feb. 2019 Inanimate objects joining the mix include a lab coat, hiking boot, ballet flat, softball, lacrosse stick, stick of dynamite, test tube, DNA helix, pirate flag and more. Jamie Ducharme, Fortune, "Redheads Will Finally Get Emojis This Year," 8 Feb. 2018 Experiment with new positions There's more than one way to give a blow job besides on your knees or with your partner lying flat. Gabrielle Kassel, Health.com, "How to Give a Good Blow Job, According to Actual Experts," 22 Nov. 2019 Asked about Vindman's testimony, congressional Republicans squirmed, tried to disagree politely or flat-out dodged. Anchorage Daily News, "White House official’s firsthand account of Trump call puts GOP in bind, emboldens Democrats," 30 Oct. 2019 At August’s debate, Tulsi Gabbard attacked her record as a prosecutor; Ms Harris’s response was halting and flat-footed. The Economist, "Kamala Harris ends her campaign for the Democratic nomination," 4 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Lead is harmful at any dose, and especially toxic to the nervous system; arsenic can flat-out kill you, the inspector general wrote. Zoë Schlanger, Quartz, "A superfund site in Montana sold bags of hazardous waste as souvenirs," 19 Nov. 2019 The main assumptions are 11 million barrels a day of crude oil production, Brent flat at $65 a barrel, net refining margins of $3 a barrel and chemicals net margins of $100 a tonne. Washington Post, "Aramco’s Cash Flow Gets the Royal Treatment," 4 Oct. 2019 Brian Snyder, Arizona Republic One can flat shoot it. Duane Rankin, azcentral, "What Cameron Johnson, Ty Jerome and Jalen Lecque can bring to the Suns now, in the future," 3 July 2019 Thoughtfully, my mother suspected this might be the case, and a few days before the wedding found an ideal backup: Manolo Blahnik flats with ample space for injured toes. Alexandra Macon, Vogue, "“The Age of Innocence on Acid” Was the Design Directive For This Wedding at the National Arts Club," 12 July 2019 Plus, the dude can flat-out sing, though no one else matches his pitch-perfect acting turn. USA TODAY, "Review: Endearing, imperfect 'Yesterday' imagines a world without The Beatles," 26 June 2019 The fashionable royal has shown us that flats like knee-high boots and sneakers can be just as stylish (and functional) on the job, and yesterday was no exception. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Jokes About Changing from High Heels to Combat Boots," 29 Mar. 2019 The curve was also this flat a few times where no inversion or recession followed and stocks did well, such as in the mid-1990s. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "Afraid of the Yield Curve? You’re Looking at the Wrong One," 6 Dec. 2018 And his board can reach tighter, shallower spots and motor-free zones that flats boats can’t. John Clarke, WSJ, "The New Fishing Vessel of Choice? Stand-Up Paddleboards," 15 Aug. 2018

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


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


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


1531, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1604, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for flat

Adjective, Noun, Adverb, and Verb

Middle English, from Old Norse flatr; akin to Old High German flaz flat, and probably to Greek platys broad — more at place

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Time Traveler for flat

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for flat

Last Updated

27 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Flat.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flatting. Accessed 27 January 2020.

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More Definitions for flat

How to pronounce flat (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of flat

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: having a smooth, level, or even surface : not having curves or bumps
: having a wide, smooth surface and little thickness
of a shoe heel : very low and wide also, of a shoe : having a flat heel or no heel



English Language Learners Definition of flat (Entry 2 of 3)

: a level area of land
: a flat part or surface
: a musical note that is one semitone lower than a specified note



English Language Learners Definition of flat (Entry 3 of 3)

: on or against a flat surface
: in the position of someone or something that is lying spread out on the ground or another surface
: exactly or precisely
\ ˈflat How to pronounce flat (audio) \
flatter; flattest

Kids Definition of flat

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : having a smooth level surface a flat rock
2 : spread out on or along a surface He was lying flat on his back.
3 : having a broad smooth surface and little thickness A CD is flat.
4 : very clear and definite a flat refusal
5 : not changing in amount I charge a flat rate.
6 : not showing active business Sales are flat.
7 : dull entry 1 sense 3 a flat story She spoke in a flat, tired voice.
8 : having lost air a flat tire
9 : no longer having bubbles flat ginger ale
10 : lower than the true musical pitch
11 : lower by a half step in music
12 : not shiny flat paint

Other Words from flat

flatly adverb He flatly refused to help.



Kids Definition of flat (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a level area of land : plain
2 : a flat part or surface the flat of the hand
3 : a note or tone that is a half step lower than the note named
4 : a sign ♭ meaning that the pitch of a musical note is to be lower by a half step
5 : a tire that has lost air



Kids Definition of flat (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : on or against a flat surface lie flat
2 : without any time more or less : exactly ten seconds flat
3 : below the true musical pitch
\ ˈflat How to pronounce flat (audio) \
flatter; flattest

Medical Definition of flat

1 : being or characterized by a horizontal line or tracing without peaks or depressions the EEG is ominously flat indicating that her brain function is gone— Don Gold
2 : characterized by general impoverishment in the presence of emotion-evoking stimuli flat affect often occurs in schizophrenia

Other Words from flat

flatness noun

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Legal Definition of flat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not varying a flat rate specifically, of a tax : having a rate that remains constant for any taxable base



Legal Definition of flat (Entry 2 of 2)

: without interest charge especially : without allowance or charge for accrued interest bonds sold flat

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More from Merriam-Webster on flat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flat

Spanish Central: Translation of flat

Nglish: Translation of flat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flat for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about flat

Comments on flat

What made you want to look up flat? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that suddenly gains wealth or power

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