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flat definition

Overview

This page has 77 definitions of flat with English translations in 6 languages. Flat is an adjective, an adverb, noun and verb. Examples of how to use flat in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: flåt

English flat definition

Pronunciation

Etymology 1

From Middle English flat, a borrowing from Old Norse flatr[1] (compare Norwegian and Swedish flat, Danish flad), from Proto-Germanic *flataz, from Proto-Indo-European *pleth₂- (flat); akin to Saterland Frisian flot (smooth), German Flöz (a geological layer), Ancient Greek πλατύς (platús), Latvian plats, Sanskrit प्रथस् (prathas, extension)[2]. Doublet of plat and pleyt.

The noun is from Middle English flat (level piece of ground, flat edge of a weapon), from the adjective.

Alternative forms

Adjective

flat (comparative flatter, superlative flattest)

  1. Having no variations in height.
    The land around here is flat.
    1. In a horizontal line or plane; not sloping.
      a flat roof
    2. Smooth; having no protrusions, indentations or other surface irregularities, or relatively so.
      The surface of the mirror must be completely flat.
      The carpet isn't properly flat in that corner.
      She has quite a flat face.
      • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 17, in The China Governess[1]:
        The face which emerged was not reassuring. It was blunt and grey, the nose springing thick and flat from high on the frontal bone of the forehead, whilst his eyes were narrow slits of dark in a tight bandage of tissue. […].
    3. (slang) Having small or invisible breasts and/or buttocks.
      That girl is completely flat on both sides.
  2. Without variation in level, quantity, value, tone etc.
    The exchange rate has been flat for several weeks.
    1. At a consistently depressed level; consistently lacklustre.
      Sales have been flat all year, and we've barely broken even.
    2. (not comparable, commerce) Of fees, fares etc., fixed; unvarying.
      a flat fee
      flat rates
      a flat fare on public transport
    3. (music, voice) Without variations in pitch.
      He delivered the speech in a flat tone.
    4. (of colours) Without variation in tone or hue; uniform.
      The walls were painted a flat gray.
  3. (figuratively) Lacking liveliness or action; depressed; uninteresting; dull and boring.
    The party was a bit flat.
    The market is flat today as most traders are on holiday.
    The dialogue in your screenplay is flat — you need to make it more exciting.
    1. (authorship, figuratively, especially of a character) Lacking in depth, substance, or believability; underdeveloped; one-dimensional.
      Antonym: round
      The author added a chapter to flesh out the book's flatter characters.
  4. (music, note) Lowered by one semitone.
  5. (music) Of a note or voice, lower in pitch than it should be.
    Your A string is flat.
  6. Absolute; downright; peremptory.
    His claim was in flat contradiction to experimental results.
    I'm not going to the party and that's flat.
    • c. 1598, William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, Act IV, Scene 2,[2]
      SECOND WATCH. Marry, that he had received a thousand ducats of Don John for accusing the Lady Hero wrongfully.
      DOGBERRY. Flat burglary as ever was committed
    • 1602, John Marston, Antonio and Mellida, Malone Society Reprint, 1921, Act I, lines 324-326,[3]
      He is made like a tilting staffe; and lookes
      For all the world like an ore-rosted pigge:
      A great Tobacco taker too, thats flat.
  7. (of a tire or other inflated object) Deflated, especially because of a puncture.
  8. (of a carbonated drink) With all or most of its carbon dioxide having come out of solution so that the drink no longer fizzes or contains any bubbles.
  9. (wine) Lacking acidity without being sweet.
  10. (of a battery) Unable to emit power; dead.
  11. (juggling, of a throw) Without spin; spinless.
  12. (phonetics, dated, of a consonant) sonant; vocal, as distinguished from a sharp (non-sonant) consonant
  13. (grammar) Not having an inflectional ending or sign, such as a noun used as an adjective, or an adjective as an adverb, without the addition of a formative suffix; or an infinitive without the sign "to".
    Many flat adverbs, as in 'run fast', 'buy cheap', etc. are from Old English.
  14. (golf, of a golf club) Having a head at a very obtuse angle to the shaft.
  15. (horticulture, of certain fruits) Flattening at the ends.
  16. (of measurements of time) Exact.
    He finished the race in a flat four minutes.
Synonyms
Antonyms
  • (having no variations in altitude): bumpy, cratered, hilly (of terrain), rough (of a surface), wrinkled (of a surface)
  • (music: lowered by one semitone): sharp
  • (music: lower in pitch than it should be): sharp
Derived terms
Related terms
Translations
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Adverb

flat (comparative more flat, superlative most flat)

  1. So as to be flat.
    Spread the tablecloth flat over the table.
  2. Bluntly.
    I asked him if he wanted to marry me and he turned me down flat.
  3. (of accurately measured timings) Exactly, precisely.
    • 1996, Jon Byrell, Lairs, Urgers and Coat-Tuggers, Sydney: Ironbark, page 186:
      Dan Patch clocked a scorching 1:55.5 flat.
    In the mile race, Smith's time was 3:58.56, and Brown's was four minutes flat.
  4. (with units of time, distance, etc) Used to emphasize the smallness of the measurement.
    He can run a mile in four minutes flat.
  5. Completely.
    I am flat broke this month.
  6. Directly; flatly.
  7. (finance, slang) Without allowance for accrued interest.
    The bonds are trading flat.
Synonyms
Translations
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Noun

A flat tire

flat (plural flats)

  1. An area of level ground.
    The hovercraft skimmed across the open flats.
    • 1625, Francis Bacon, Of Envy
      Envy is as the sunbeams that beat hotter upon a bank, or steep rising ground, than upon a flat.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 3, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      My hopes wa'n't disappointed. I never saw clams thicker than they was along them inshore flats. I filled my dreener in no time, and then it come to me that 'twouldn't be a bad idee to get a lot more, take 'em with me to Wellmouth, and peddle 'em out. Clams was fairly scarce over that side of the bay and ought to fetch a fair price.
    1. (in the phrase 'the flat') Level ground in general.
      I can run on the flat but not up hills.
      The going will be easier once we're through these mountains and onto the flat.
    2. (horse racing, with 'the' or attributively, sometimes with capital) Level horse-racing ground, as contrasted with courses incorporating jumps, or the racing done on such ground.
      This horse will do better over the flat.
      flat racing, the flat season
      • 2020, Brian Sheerin, Racing Post, "Gordon Elliott maps out summer Flat campaigns for talented jumpers" (article) [4]
        In light of Horse Racing Ireland's Covid-19 contingency plan announcement, that whenever racing resumes the Flat will be given priority, Elliott has decided to keep a number of talented jumpers on the go during the summer, with a view towards a dual-purpose campaign.
      • 2021 (retrieved), racing365.com, "Flat Racing Explained" [5]
        In British horse racing, the classics are a series of horse races run over the flat (i.e. without jumps).
  2. (music) A note played a semitone lower than a natural, denoted by the symbol placed after the letter representing the note (e.g., B♭) or in front of the note symbol (e.g. ♭♪).
    The key of E♭ has three flats.
  3. (informal, automotive) A flat tyre/tire.
  4. (in the plural) A type of ladies' shoe with a very low heel.
    She liked to walk in her flats more than in her high heels.
  5. (in the plural) A type of flat-soled running shoe without spikes.
  6. (painting) A thin, broad brush used in oil and watercolour painting.
  7. The flat part of something:
    1. (swordfighting) The flat side of a blade, as opposed to the sharp edge.
    2. The palm of the hand, with the adjacent part of the fingers.
  8. A wide, shallow container or pallet.
    a flat of strawberries
  9. (mail) A large mail piece measuring at least 8 1/2 by 11 inches, such as catalogs, magazines, and unfolded paper enclosed in large envelopes.
  10. (rail transport, US) A railroad car without a roof, and whose body is a platform without sides; a platform car or flatcar.
  11. A flat-bottomed boat, without keel, and of small draught.
  12. (geometry) A subset of n-dimensional space that is congruent to a Euclidean space of lower dimension.
  13. A straw hat, broad-brimmed and low-crowned.
  14. A flat sheet for use on a bed.
    • 1986, New York Magazine (volume 19, number 49, page 20)
      You might think that Americans buy roughly the same number of fitted sheets as flats. Or, considering the market for electric blankets, duvets, and other covers, that consumers buy even more bottom sheets, simply forgoing the tops.
  15. (publishing) A flat, glossy children's book with few pages.
    • 1970, The Publishers Weekly (volume 197, page 85)
      This same publisher notes pricing is a crucial factor in the mass market field of $1, $1.95 and $2.95 "flats."
  16. A platform on a wheel, upon which emblematic designs etc. are carried in processions.
  17. (mining) A horizontal vein or ore deposit auxiliary to a main vein; also, any horizontal portion of a vein not elsewhere horizontal[3].
  18. (technical, theatre) A rectangular wooden structure covered with masonite, lauan, or muslin that depicts a building or other part of a scene, also called backcloth and backdrop.
  19. (entomology) Any of various hesperiid butterflies that spread their wings open when they land.
  20. (historical) An early kind of toy soldier having a flat design.
    • 2019, Luigi Toiati, The History of Toy Soldiers (page 78)
      Among the many US museums hosting flats, we may mention the Toy Soldier Museum in the Pocono Mountains, supervised by the historian, collector and dealer J. Hillestad.
  21. (obsolete) A dull fellow; a simpleton.
    • 1836, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., "The Music-Grinders":
      ... if you cannot make a speech,
      Because you are a flat,
      Go very quietly and drop
      A button in the hat!
    • 1848, William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair, Chapter 14:
      "He fancies he can play at billiards," said he. "I won two hundred of him at the Cocoa-Tree. HE play, the young flat! ..."
  22. Short for flat ride (spinning amusement ride).
Antonyms
Derived terms
Translations
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Verb

flat (third-person singular simple present flats, present participle flatting, simple past and past participle flatted)

  1. (poker slang) To make a flat call; to call without raising.
  2. (intransitive) To become flat or flattened; to sink or fall to an even surface.
  3. (intransitive, music, colloquial) To fall from the pitch.
  4. (transitive, music) To depress in tone, as a musical note; especially, to lower in pitch by half a tone.
  5. (transitive, dated) To make flat; to flatten; to level.
    • 1764, James Granger, M.D., The Sugar-Cane: a Poem. In Four Books. With Notes. Book 1, page 44, note to verse 605.
      The pods, which seldom contain less than thirty nuts of the size of a flatted olive, grow upon the stem and principal branches.
  6. (transitive, dated) To render dull, insipid, or spiritless; to depress.
    • a. 1677, Isaac Barrow, The Danger and Mischief of Delaying Repentance (sermon)
      Passions are allayed, appetites are flatted.

Etymology 2

A block of flats (apartments) in Wrocław

From 1795, alteration of Scots flet (inner part of a house), from Middle English flet (dwelling), from Old English flet, flett (ground floor, dwelling), from Proto-Germanic *flatją (floor), from Proto-Germanic *flataz (flat), from Proto-Indo-European *pleth₂- (flat). Akin to Old Frisian flet, flette (dwelling, house). More at flet, flat1.

Noun

flat (plural flats)

  1. (chiefly Britain, New England, New Zealand and Australia, archaic elsewhere) An apartment, usually on one level and usually consisting of more than one room.
    • 1905, Sydney Perks, Residential flats of all classes, including artisans' dwellings: a practical treatise on their planning and arrangement, together with chapters on their history, financial matters, etc.,with numerous illustrations, page 204,
      The excellence of French flats is so well known in America, that the owner will often refer to his property as "first class French flats."
    • 1983, Tai Ching Ling, Relocation and Population Planning: A Study of the Implications of Public Housing and Family Planning in Singapore, Wilfredo F. Arce, Gabriel C. Alvarez (editors), Population Change in Southeast Asia, page 184,
      Fifteen percent of this group said that they were not satisfied with the public housing estates and their HDB[Singapore Housing & Development Board] flats (see Tables 11 and 12 respectively).
    • 2002, MIchael Ottley, Briefcase on Company Law, page 76,
      The Greater London Council formed the Estmanco company to manage a block of 60 council-owned flats. The council entered into an agreement with the company to sell off the flats to owner-occupiers.
    • 2014, Terry Gourvish, Dolphin Square: The History of a Unique Building, page 75,
      When the Dolphin Square's flats were first offered to the public in 1936, the South Block was still under construction, and the North Block was a building site.
Synonyms
Derived terms
Translations

Etymology 3

From Middle English flatten, from Old French flatir (to knock or strike down, dash), from Frankish *flattjan (to move the palm of the hand), from Proto-Germanic *flatjaną (to make flat, flatten).

Verb

flat (third-person singular simple present flats, present participle flatting, simple past and past participle flatted)

  1. (transitive, obsolete) To beat or strike; pound
  2. (transitive) To dash or throw
  3. (intransitive) To dash, rush
Derived terms

References

  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2021) , “flat”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
  2. ^ Sanskrit, OHG and Greek cognates named
  3. ^ 1881, Rossiter W. Raymond, A Glossary of Mining and Metallurgical Terms

Anagrams


Dutch flat definition

Etymology

Borrowed from English flat.

Pronunciation

Noun

flat m (plural flats, diminutive flatje n)

  1. flat, apartment
  2. tower block

Derived terms


Latin flat definition

Verb

flat

  1. third-person singular present active indicative of flō

Norwegian Bokmål flat definition

Etymology

From Old Norse flatr

Adjective

flat (neuter singular flatt, definite singular and plural flate, comparative flatere, indefinite superlative flatest, definite superlative flateste)

  1. flat

Derived terms

References


Norwegian Nynorsk flat definition

Etymology

From Old Norse flatr

Adjective

flat (neuter singular flatt, definite singular and plural flate, comparative flatare, indefinite superlative flatast, definite superlative flataste)

  1. flat

References


Old English flat definition

Pronunciation

Verb

flāt

  1. first/third-person singular preterite of flītan

Scottish Gaelic flat definition

Noun

flat m (genitive singular flat, plural flataichean)

  1. saucer
  2. flat, apartment

Mutation

Scottish Gaelic mutation
Radical Lenition
flat fhlat
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.

Synonyms


Swedish flat definition

Etymology

From Old Norse flatr, from Proto-Germanic *flataz, from Proto-Indo-European *plat- (flat).

Adjective

flat (comparative flatare, superlative flatast)

  1. flat (having no variations in altitude)
    Solen reflekterades i spegelns flata yta.
    The sun was reflected in the flat surface of the mirror.
  2. spineless, being a doormat, abstaining from defending one's convictions
    Han var alldeles för flat mot chefen, och fick inte heller någon löneökning.
    He let the manager walk all over him and did not get a raise.

Declension

Inflection of flat
Indefinite Positive Comparative Superlative2
Common singular flat flatare flatast
Neuter singular flatt flatare flatast
Plural flata flatare flatast
Definite Positive Comparative Superlative
Masculine singular1 flate flatare flataste
All flata flatare flataste
1) Only used, optionally, to refer to things whose natural gender is masculine.
2) The indefinite superlative forms are only used in the predicative.

Synonyms

  • (flat): platt
  • (spineless): eftergiven, mjäkig

Anagrams