Main definitions of flat in English

: flat1flat2

flat1

adjective

  • 1Having a level surface; without raised areas or indentations.

    ‘he sat down on a flat rock’
    ‘trim the surface of the cake to make it completely flat’
    • ‘Then, at last, it was full steam ahead - along a broad, flat, gravel track.’
    • ‘The stern was dominated by a flat expanse of steel - the helicopter deck.’
    • ‘The animals have long sharp canines and broad flat molars that grind shells.’
    • ‘The park, at the rear of the Memorial Hall car park, was opened earlier this year as an area of flat hard surface.’
    • ‘She said all that was needed was a flat tarmacademed area.’
    • ‘It had a large rock central to the area with a flat surface and was bathed in sunlight that had filtered through the canopy of trees.’
    • ‘This makes both surfaces as flat and even as possible, to allow for the maximum amount of contact.’
    • ‘For the cod place the rice paper sheets on a flat worksurface.’
    • ‘They made their way to a large cliff where a big rock sat at the end with a flat surface.’
    • ‘"This is probably a sedimentary rock made up of particles that have accumulated on a fairly flat surface.’
    • ‘Water simply passes out from the wall, falls against a flat surface and trickles into a surrounding moat.’
    • ‘The recommendation now is to use solid black plastic under a mulch on relatively flat surfaces.’
    • ‘The television has a perfectly flat plasma display screen.’
    • ‘Temporarily prop up the two end trusses on a level, flat surface.’
    • ‘Last year a ten-metre area of flat tarmacadam-type surface was laid down at a cost of around £4,000.’
    • ‘Put stones in the narrow area and use flat rocks on top of them.’
    • ‘Apparently the five rear seats do come out to leave a flat load area but the process is simply too much like hard work.’
    • ‘They have to be level, flat and firmly secured to the picture and the wall.’
    • ‘The backrest folds in an uncomplicated fashion to create a roomy and flat load area.’
    • ‘Once the soil is ready, he tamps the beds with a sheet of plywood so the soil is firm and flat.’
    level, horizontal, levelled
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of land) without hills.
      ‘thirty-five acres of flat countryside’
      • ‘The topography of the county ranges from low rolling hills in the north to very flat terrain or gentle sloping ridges in the south.’
      • ‘The city sits on high, flat plains 12 miles east of the Rockies.’
      • ‘He was standing on a flat desert plain under white clouds and blue sky.’
      • ‘The terrain was flat and unspectacular.’
      • ‘The walk follows flat riverside pastures for virtually all the way, though numerous stiles and kissing gates need to be negotiated and walking boots are essential.’
      • ‘Flanders, in contrast, is a land of flat country and few hills.’
      • ‘The land is flat, and perhaps it's my imagination, but it appears stunted and less fertile than the hills and mountains to the north east.’
      • ‘Because of the flat terrain, a bicycle is the best form of transportation to use in the city.’
      • ‘A fruit and vegetable farm was located on the flat plains of Western Kansas.’
      • ‘The bright, flat landscape filled her view, radiant with heat.’
      • ‘Except for mountain chains in the north and west along the Norwegian border, the land is relatively flat.’
      • ‘The terrain is relatively flat, with good cycle and footpath connections to adjacent suburbs.’
      • ‘Back home Harry and I returned to our window, to look out at the sad, flat landscape under a sky that was not so much leaden as plain tired.’
      • ‘We drive through flat wastelands of scrub and dust.’
      • ‘My creative work today was limited of course but I did manage to walk a little way up the lane to snap a photograph of the view over the flat fields I see all about me.’
      • ‘Most of the land is flat, barren tundra where only the top few inches of the frozen earth thaw out during the summer months.’
      • ‘I love the wonderful flat landscape with its wide skies where so many flocks of birds fly freely.’
      • ‘Most of the ride is on quiet roads and cycle paths over flat terrain, with the occasional gentle hill.’
      • ‘In contrast, the western half of the route is nearly flat and offers long, expansive views across large sweeps of farmland.’
      • ‘The surrounding land is flat and open farmland surrounded by forest.’
    2. 1.2 (of an expanse of water) calm and without waves.
      • ‘Lights from a large cargo ship reflected on the flat, still water.’
      • ‘The air was hot, stale and oppressive, the sea as flat and lifeless as some dead thing.’
      • ‘Most cat anglers in my experience seem to be converted carp anglers, used to fishing flat calm waters where the fish are as likely to take a boilie as a dead or livebait.’
      • ‘The water was flat calm, about a foot deep with a very soft bottom.’
      • ‘Floating on calm, flat water, some thought that it represented human dominance over nature.’
      • ‘To the south the flat expanse of Lake Dokan shone greasily in the low evening light like fish scales.’
      • ‘But now that the sun was fully out, he could see beyond the breakers, way beyond the waves to the flat water at the back.’
      calm, still, tranquil, pacific, undisturbed, without waves, like a millpond
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 Not sloping.
      ‘the flat roof of a garage’
      • ‘Withdrawing from the edge, I ducked under the rafter of the flat roof.’
      • ‘A leaking roof can lead to damage on ceilings and walls, so it is important to replace loose or cracked slates, and get damaged material on flat roofs repaired.’
      • ‘The flat roofs that leak need to be replaced, as do the heating system and the windows.’
      • ‘One solution would be to build a new bathroom on top of the flat roof of the kitchen extension, allowing the existing bathroom to be used to mount a staircase to the loft.’
      • ‘Combining the three spaces involved more than removing walls and raising the kitchen's flat ceiling.’
      • ‘The city has rebuilt the flat roofs of about 2,500 houses since 2000.’
      • ‘But a way has been found to replace the flat roof that does not interfere with the life of the school, and the work is getting on well.’
      • ‘The car usually had to be parked on a slope in order to aid ‘bump-starting’ but as the forecourt was flat, we knew that the car would need to be pushed.’
      • ‘Insulating your flat roof would be a fairly basic DIY job.’
      • ‘Some of the youngsters kicked a football at the tiled roof, while others ran along the flat part of the roof jumping from one building to the next.’
      • ‘The school accused the Council of dragging its heels over a replacement for a flat roof which was constantly being patched up because of leaks.’
      • ‘The older parts of the university are all built of the same plain light brown brick rising in columns, with long windows between them, and simple flat roofs.’
      • ‘The flat roof in the girls toilet has fallen in so when it rains, it is flooded.’
      • ‘The double-height section between the elevated bedrooms is covered with a flat glass roof.’
      • ‘It stated that the stairwell tower should be reduced in height by removing the pitched roof and replacing it with a flat roof.’
      • ‘The nursery building, which was converted in the 1980s, has a flat roof that first started leaking last year.’
      • ‘Snow lying on a flat field is fairly dormant, but snow lying on a slope is inherently alive, thanks to the pull of gravity.’
      • ‘The burglars used a nearby ladder to climb onto a flat roof before forcing open a window.’
      • ‘The huts had flat roofs; some even had things on top of them.’
      • ‘Combined with replacement of the flat roof over the front of the building, it is estimated the essential repairs will cost £100,000.’
      level, horizontal, levelled
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 Having a broad level surface but little height or depth; shallow.
      ‘a flat rectangular box’
      ‘a flat cap’
      • ‘It wasn't like this in the flat cap days of my grandfather, but I bet that even he wished that he had two tweed jackets instead of one.’
      • ‘The guy with the flat cap and hearing aid was standing in the door.’
      • ‘People used to think the earth was flat and the universe revolved around it.’
      • ‘She produced a flat black box, a little smaller than a directory.’
      • ‘I could walk it - and wouldn't even need my flat cap and plastic mac.’
      • ‘Quickly coat the orange slices in the caramel and pour on to a flat plate; act with speed otherwise the caramel will set before you can get it out of the saucepan.’
      • ‘Once outside, Cordelia pulled out a flat aqua cellphone, the size of a playing card when it was closed.’
      • ‘He is the old bloke with the flat cap and the transistor radio, isn't he?’
      • ‘The guitarist looks like an accountant, the drummer stands up behind his kit to play whilst wearing a flat cap.’
      • ‘Outside the grand clubhouse, you almost expect chaps to be wandering around in plus-fours and flat caps.’
      • ‘Approximately 25 cm long, the animal has a flat tail surrounded by a skin-like fin which is used for swimming.’
      • ‘In surviving examples, the handle assumes a broad flat circular shape so that the lid could be turned over and function as a bowl or plate for the food held in the container.’
      • ‘His flat cap and round rimmed glasses are his trademark.’
      • ‘Most men covered their heads with flat wool caps or skullcaps or turbans in a variety of sizes and colours.’
      • ‘Apparently he left the venue wearing a flat cap.’
      • ‘The beaver uses its flat tail to warn other beavers of danger by slapping the water surface before diving.’
      • ‘The tube has a flat, wide cap and is meant to be stored upright.’
      • ‘Put the discs of cheese in a flat dish, tuck in the sprigs of thyme, the lightly crushed peppercorns and the bay leaves then pour over the olive oil.’
      • ‘Connor, resplendent in blue overcoat and black flat cap, hardly stood still.’
      • ‘So I'm standing on the platform, and I see an older guy, in quite a distinctive flat cap.’
      shallow, not deep, wide
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5 (of shoes) without heels or with very low heels.
      • ‘The dancers are in flat slippers, the costumes are in bold autumnal colours of magenta, orange and dark yellow, and the girls have their hair loose.’
      • ‘How is it that flat shoes hurt more than high heels?’
      • ‘Pop a jacket over it and you could wear it to a wedding; add a knit and flat sandals, and it's good for daywear.’
      • ‘While you can get away with flat shoes during summer, opt for a slight heel for the colder months.’
      • ‘At the time she was wearing flat shoes, her work uniform and was carrying a handbag over her left shoulder.’
      • ‘The women of New York are wearing flat sandals - and looking stunning.’
      • ‘I wear flat shoes for walking to work but otherwise it's high heels.’
      • ‘As I live in the country with three young children, a big dog and a pony, it has to be flat shoes or boots most of the time.’
      • ‘She walked on down the passageway, her soft flat shoes making no sound.’
      • ‘Although flat shoes are better for your feet because they reduce the risk of lateral ankle sprains, they also bring their own problems.’
      • ‘She scraped her flat shoes across the ground to dislodge any stale mud and walked to the centre of the alley.’
      • ‘Wear thick-soled flat footwear, particularly if you'll be standing on one rung for long periods, and make sure your shoelaces are securely tied.’
      • ‘An itsy-bitsy kitten heel keeps the flat shoe feeling, but give some extra lift to your step.’
      • ‘At least it's a nice purple, Grace had said with a shrug, flouncing towards the car in her nice, black dress, and flat sandals.’
      • ‘We followed the guide as she strode forward on her flat shoes and up the marble staircase past election posters, now already peeling after their usefulness was expended.’
      • ‘If high heels are too uncomfortable, why not just wear flat shoes?’
      • ‘The girl was dressed in a very long black coat and wearing a pair of white flat sandals.’
      • ‘She had changed from her high heels into flat tennis shoes, and wore a small shoulder purse draped over one shoulder and around her neck.’
      • ‘There are theories that men sprinting in flat shoes get out faster than women hampered by heels or waiting to help a colleague.’
      • ‘Swap your sensible flat shoes for heels, add a glittery scarf and statement jewellery.’
      low, low-heeled, heelless, without heels
      View synonyms
  • 2Lacking emotion; dull and lifeless.

    ‘‘I'm sorry,’ he said, in a flat voice’
    • ‘His voice was flat, void of any emotion, which led Anna to wonder if he felt anything at all about his father.’
    • ‘I have never seen a film where everybody is so uniformly flat.’
    • ‘Her voice was flat and emotionless and Ryder wanted to kick himself for making her sound like that.’
    • ‘With no special effects the soundtrack does what it needs to do, although to be honest, it sometimes sounded rather flat and dull.’
    • ‘She replied in a flat voice, only putting emotion into certain words.’
    • ‘I'd feel inordinately pleased with myself were it not for the fact that the ones I spent all morning doing are rather flat and dull.’
    • ‘My voice was flat and expressionless, edged with steel and contempt for my enemy.’
    • ‘Her voice is flat, with a halfhearted hitch and no emotional delivery.’
    • ‘That description was far too flat and emotionless and pain-free.’
    • ‘Her voice was flat and emotionless as she shut her eyes again, feeling cool hands and then a damp cloth on her forehead.’
    • ‘Autumn's voice was flat, almost monotonous, but it was not uncaring.’
    • ‘His voice cracked and then went flat, devoid of emotion.’
    • ‘At first I assumed this mix would be flat and lifeless - to my surprise it sounded far better than I was hoping.’
    • ‘When he did at last speak, his voice was just as flat and emotionless as his eyes.’
    • ‘Finally he spoke in a forced casual tone, causing her to turn, making his voice as flat and uninterested as possible.’
    • ‘This Court production looks gorgeous - the costumes and set are stunning - but feels strangely flat and lifeless.’
    • ‘His speech, delivered without notes, struck observers as both compassionate and professional - while the older man was dull and flat.’
    • ‘The fact that Cosmos is such a classic tune makes this dull, flat rendition even more of an affront.’
    • ‘Dana's feminine voice grew quite flat and emotionless, and even a little haunting.’
    • ‘My speaking voice is rather flat, but my singing voice is good.’
    monotonous, toneless, droning, boring, dull, tedious, uninteresting, unexciting, soporific
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 (of a person) without energy or enthusiasm.
      ‘his sense of intoxication wore off until he felt flat and weary’
      • ‘He is normally fired up and fluent, but this time he was flat and unable to find anything fresh to say about yet another defeat.’
      • ‘At the start of the year in Adelaide and Auckland he was flat at the beginning of every match and could not get himself fired up.’
      • ‘I was feeling a little flat after the no cool down, no food, and beer combo of the night before.’
      • ‘His voice was still slightly flat though Elizabeth could tell he really did like Sam.’
      • ‘I came on and they were flat and tired and stressy.’
      • ‘In a word, Fuller excepted, they were flat, and despite the bluster one wonders who exactly will muster the requisite spark when he makes his exit.’
      depressed, dejected, dispirited, despondent, downhearted, disheartened, discouraged, low, low-spirited, down, gloomy, glum, unhappy, blue, desolate, weighed down, oppressed
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 (of trade, prices, etc.) not showing much activity; sluggish.
      ‘the UK housing market was flat’
      • ‘Here in Australia, retail sales are already flat, apparently because consumers are avoiding using their cars and staying at home.’
      • ‘Consumer spending may not look too resilient, given the flat performance of retail sales in October.’
      • ‘Even in years when economic growth is flat or negative, electricity consumption nearly always increases.’
      • ‘Locally, hiring is expected to remain virtually flat this year.’
      • ‘Overall sales have been flat for five years.’
      • ‘The overall level of crime is flat and shows the impact the Safer Neighbourhood Teams are having on low-level crime such as shoplifting.’
      • ‘At least, flat prices or the absence of inflation is a darn good thing for consumers.’
      • ‘Even so, its new forecast of flat prices looks plausible and matches my view.’
      • ‘Wage growth was essentially flat over the past year.’
      • ‘Following two months of flat sales, retail spending rose by 1.3 percent in October.’
      • ‘The company has been in a prolonged slump, with flat sales in the United States and a stock price to match.’
      • ‘Consumer demand is flat and business bankruptcies are rising.’
      • ‘The group said that despite higher volumes, the Republic of Ireland's trading profits were broadly flat in a pretty buoyant market.’
      • ‘But sales have been flat for the embattled company, whose CEO was recently ousted.’
      • ‘Its sales were relatively flat in 2001, due in part to lower gasoline prices affecting its stores with fuel pumps.’
      • ‘The company posted an encouraging increase in pre-tax profit even though turnover remained essentially flat.’
      • ‘At many companies sales are flat or down - sometimes way, way down.’
      • ‘The shop's optimism is set against other major retailers' expectations for flat trading next year.’
      • ‘Then, late last year, sales were nearly flat and actually declined in some categories.’
      • ‘While overall world oil demand was essentially flat in 1993, demand in the Western Pacific rose four percent.’
      slow, inactive, sluggish, slow-moving, slack, quiet, not busy, depressed, stagnant, static, dead, unproductive
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3 (of a colour) uniform.
      ‘a flat shade of grey’
      • ‘Two other monitors off to one side emit changing flat colours from their screens, and a dull but insistent techno-type soundtrack.’
      • ‘He used bold, poster-like contrasts of form and colour, with strong black outlines and extensive areas of flat, uniform colour.’
      • ‘His style is stark and angular, relying heavily on the use of flat colour and silhouettes.’
      • ‘The textile is placed awkwardly on top of the table, creating areas of strong, flat colour and signalling Matisse's future as a painter.’
      • ‘It was different than other tattoos in the fact that it was in metallic gold, most were done in dull flat colours.’
      • ‘There are other panels with flat planes of tertiary colour, some with simple linear designs.’
      • ‘Francis Towne was a landscape painter whose idiosyncratic style relied on economic and careful pen outlines and flat muted washes of colour.’
      • ‘Time passed and the light outside remained the same flat grey as snow kept falling, icing the windows over.’
      • ‘The walls were more definite in their colour, more flat.’
      • ‘You sort of notice perspective and lines and flat planes of colour.’
    4. 2.4 (of a photograph or negative) lacking contrast.
      • ‘I have some flat negatives that really need a tonal boost.’
      • ‘This photograph was flat, with very little contrast and some noticeable scratches, dust spots, pen marks and other discolorations.’
      • ‘Blasting the subject with a sea of light produces flat, wishy-washy photographs.’
  • 3(of a sparkling drink) having lost its effervescence.

    ‘she sipped some of the flat champagne’
    • ‘It is shockingly sweet at first - a fizzy drink gone flat in the sun.’
    • ‘By now, Archer could be forgiven for thinking that she had earned her right to a quiet life of flat champagne and cheap shopping trips.’
    • ‘My father wrapped me up in his bathrobe and I got to sit up with my parents, drink flat ginger ale and watch TV.’
    • ‘She emailed me to say that they're to keep the drink from going flat.’
    • ‘Some people make a big fuss about this stuff, which tastes like flat soda pop to me.’
    • ‘As saccharine as flat cola, it had an added taste of musky, dusky fruit and a hint of molasses.’
    • ‘If your steak is bad or the beer is flat, you return it.’
    • ‘Melvin waved hello to her, as he sat at the table with Bill, eating cold pizza and drinking flat soda.’
    • ‘Another night of flat champagne, limp canapés and unfamiliar faces?’
    • ‘He took his now flat soda from his jacket and walked into the study to await Monica.’
    still, dead, no longer effervescent
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1 (of something kept inflated, especially a tyre) having lost some or all of its air, typically because of a puncture.
      • ‘He even rode the last 40 km of the final stage with two flat tyres.’
      • ‘Police believe the gunman struck last Wednesday, as the victim changed a flat tyre on his car after his colleagues had left for the day.’
      • ‘Most are untaxed, others carry out-of-date tax discs and virtually all have flat tyres or have been vandalised and are obviously dumped.’
      • ‘He soon trades it for a mountain bike with a flat tyre and a modest handful of small gold coins.’
      • ‘Only a flat tyre cost them an even better result.’
      • ‘The guy says that he is quite happy to help and he closes his car door, the girl showing him to a nearby parking lot where her car sits on a flat tyre.’
      • ‘His bike had a flat tire, but that was to be expected.’
      • ‘On one particular trip my dad's car got a flat tyre and only just made it to the half-way stop.’
      • ‘When they reached the jeep, Abby noticed that she had a flat tire.’
      • ‘There is nothing you can do about a flat tyre but as a team we have very few mechanical problems as everything is checked thoroughly.’
      • ‘To take my mind off what was in store for me, I chatted to the owner of the racing bike next to mine while she efficiently changed a flat tyre tube.’
      • ‘You would not run your car with a flat tyre for twelve months without expecting further damage than the burst tyre.’
      • ‘A woman had been driving down a freeway, and had had a flat tyre.’
      • ‘The first warning came when I first grabbed my bike. My back tire was completely flat.’
      • ‘He then discovered he had a flat tyre and took his car back into the garage to deal with it.’
      • ‘He was picked up because he was driving with a flat tyre.’
      • ‘In this case, the only damage caused to the civilian was a flat tyre.’
      • ‘In September last year a gang of vandals left a trail of destruction in Clifton Street when residents woke up to find almost every vehicle on one side of the road had flat tyres.’
      • ‘A youngster was left in tears after his bike was snatched as he fixed a flat tyre.’
      • ‘The accident expert would also investigate allegations that the bus had a flat tyre at the time of the accident.’
      deflated, punctured, burst, collapsed, blown out, ruptured, pierced, empty of air, decompressed, depressurized
      View synonyms
    2. 3.2British (of a battery) having exhausted its charge.
      • ‘One of the most irksome things that can happen to a mobile phone user is a flat battery, and the charging devices are designed to solve the problem.’
      • ‘Booked the car in for a thorough inspection of its electrical system, following one flat battery too many.’
      • ‘There were two smoke alarms installed in the house, but one had been disconnected and the second had flat batteries.’
      • ‘There is just one small problem: the batteries have gone flat.’
      • ‘His battery went flat just before the cars were due to go on to the grid and he was forced to start from the pitlane.’
      • ‘You need to make sure everything is backed up on your home computer - a flat battery in your PDA can wipe out all your data in one go.’
      • ‘Invariably the battery is totally flat on Monday and the car will not start.’
      • ‘Sometimes the battery was flat and needed topping up.’
      • ‘The car was pushed 20-feet up the street but then abandoned with a flat battery.’
      • ‘My 1996 Mercedes suffers a flat battery in just a couple of weeks if left undriven.’
      • ‘I went up to Church Road to retrieve my wife's car but by this time the battery had gone flat due to having the lights having been left on.’
      • ‘And you know how, when the battery's flat, your car makes a dispiriting grinding noise as you try starting it?’
      • ‘It turned out not to be a straight case of a flat battery.’
      • ‘Bennett ends up having to turn his music down, recharge her van's flat battery, and become her reluctant carer.’
      • ‘They charged me over £100 just to recharge a flat battery - the car broke down again on my way home but luckily on a main road near home.’
      • ‘Even to this day I cannot let a car stand for more than about 72 hours without at least starting it to make sure the battery isn't flat.’
      • ‘I grabbed the phone and realised the battery was flat; before I'd even got to the phone the car had sped away.’
      • ‘I thought my battery was flat and got out to check the lights.’
      • ‘Have you noticed for example, friends and workmates asking you for their best friend's phone number because their mobile battery is flat?’
      • ‘I had some shopping to do and jumped in my vehicle only to find the battery was flat.’
      expired, dead, finished, used up, run out
      View synonyms
  • 4attributive (of a fee, wage, or price) the same in all cases, not varying with changed conditions or in particular cases.

    ‘a flat fare of £2.50’
    See also flat rate
    • ‘Aidan O'Hogan said that he would caution against the introduction of flat fees.’
    • ‘Only two ministers opposed the Labour Cabinet's proposal for a flat income tax in December 1987.’
    • ‘Many online brokers now charge a flat fee of around £10 per trade.’
    • ‘Instead of taking a percentage cut of a bond's face value, some charge a flat fee.’
    • ‘He or she will often charge you a flat fee or an hourly rate.’
    • ‘Revenue growth in its core publishing business was flat last year.’
    • ‘Brokers get a flat commission, plus a smaller annual commission, called a trail.’
    • ‘There's a flat fee, based on circulation, just to take advantage of the program.’
    • ‘Once we'd agreed on a budget, she explained that she charged a flat fee for her services.’
    • ‘The centrepiece of the reforms is the introduction of a flat income tax rate of 20 percent and the dismantling of social services.’
    • ‘He cites as helpful such reforms as the launch of a flat income tax.’
    • ‘If you pay a flat commission rate, the plan will be worth €15,362 after tax at the end of ten years.’
    • ‘There is also a flat fee of £35 payable to register property deeds with the Registry of Deeds.’
    • ‘Bank of Ireland offers a service whereby customers can have 90 transactions in return for a flat fee of £9 per quarter.’
    • ‘Try using a credit card to get your money out and usually there's a flat fee on top of whatever interest charge your credit card will pay you.’
    • ‘Most people are astonished how cheap flat fee access could be.’
    • ‘My question is this: if a user can pay for the music through a flat fee, why can't the service pay for itself through advertising?’
    • ‘It also pointed out that solicitors receive a flat fee from legal aid and stand to lose earnings if a case is adjourned.’
    • ‘Future revenue would be harvested from a single-rate flat tax on wages or, better still, a stiff sales tax on consumption.’
    • ‘The flat income tax was seen as a way to create fair taxation.’
    fixed, set, regular, established, unchanging, unvarying, invariable, unfluctuating, consistent, constant, uniform, straight, hard and fast
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1 (of a denial, contradiction, or refusal) completely definite and firm; absolute.
      ‘the request was met with a flat refusal’
      • ‘So when I brought this helmet home for him to try out, I expected a flat refusal.’
      • ‘Then comes the flat proclamation that nothing happened to civilians; nothing whatever.’
      • ‘When I reached the desk, I got blank faces and flat refusals.’
      • ‘Because the individual himself is at stake during the seduction, he cannot risk a flat refusal from the potential partner.’
      • ‘On many occasions they have demanded information on the terms of the deal, but met with a flat refusal.’
      • ‘He reacted furiously to the news of the mutiny of the soldiers, rushing to the scene after their flat refusal to fight.’
      • ‘The flat denials at the start of the week changed instead to a promise of full co-operation.’
      • ‘Well, I know it came out like a flat denial, and I think one of the things I can do is clear it up.’
      • ‘Amazingly, this sharp slowdown in consumer spending, though lasting for half a year, has been met with flat denial all around.’
      • ‘That's the best weapon we have against these evil people, our flat refusal to allow them to divert us more than momentarily from our daily lives.’
      • ‘And there does seem to be a pretty flat contradiction between those two points.’
      • ‘The news flies in the face of flat denials by the BBC in Glasgow.’
      • ‘Perkins issued a flat denial that he had ever had anything to do with Duke, and he denounced him for good measure.’
      • ‘Media bias is not exclusive to Australia, nor is the flat denial of its existence by those who clearly display it.’
      • ‘He couldn't afford to take it, not as it currently stood, but a flat refusal would stiffen the old man's position.’
      • ‘As an observer, I can testify that the comments made by these powerful and successful people were in flat contradiction to the caricature.’
      • ‘This provocative thesis elicits flat denials from both governments.’
      • ‘But with an official investigation underway, even a flat denial from head office won't still the rumors.’
      • ‘Firstly, a flat rebuttal of another's opinion is not in itself a statement of fact, simply a disagreement in terms.’
      • ‘In 2004, the media has not made an issue over Teresa Heinz's flat refusal to release her tax returns.’
      outright, direct, point blank, out and out, downright, absolute, definite, positive, straight, stark, all out
      View synonyms
  • 5(of musical sound) below true or normal pitch.

    • ‘They can't sing, most of their notes were flat.’
    • ‘He finally gave in and belted out the limited lyrics from memory accompanied by flat notes.’
    • ‘The beginning of her song was flat and she is singing to low for her voice range so she's straining.’
    • ‘Sung in a deliberately flat tone, this song is a typically acidic musical joke and for that reason it does not stand up to repeated listens.’
    • ‘The dialogue is often difficult to hear and the music sounds tinny and flat.’
    • ‘I thought the performance was great but the singing was flat.’
    1. 5.1postpositive (of a key) having a flat or flats in the signature.
      • ‘As with the sharp key signatures, there is an easy way to determine the key of a particular flat key signature.’
      • ‘Without moving up or down the fingerboard more than one fret, you should be able to pick out each successive sharp or flat key and play that Major scale.’
    2. 5.2postpositive (of a note) a semitone lower than a specified note.
      ‘E flat’
      • ‘We played the Schubert B flat Trio and the Tchaikovsky.’
      • ‘For example, the coda of the great Schubert B flat sonata was played at a breakneck pace and was technically perfect.’
      • ‘Mozart had with him a B flat string quintet with two violas written when he was sixteen and just back from his third Italian journey.’
      • ‘The concert opened with a riveting account of Haydn's late E flat Sonata.’
      • ‘Nonetheless, a movement such as the Largo in the B flat concerto can only amaze with its expressiveness and power.’
      • ‘Sound does travel in space, evidenced by the B flat note emanating from a black hole discovered by scientists in the last couple weeks.’
      • ‘Arranged for trumpet sextet and a continuo instrument (bassoon or euphonium are suggested), this piece can be performed in B-flat, C or D.’
  • 6Relating to flat racing.

    ‘the Flat season’
    • ‘Ayr Racecourse will host its first Ladies' Night of the Flat season on Thursday when Regional Racing will also make its Scottish debut.’
    • ‘As promised, since it's that time of year, here are my Ten To Follow for the Flat season ahead.’
    • ‘The Flat season had just ended and he was going to make the most of it.’
    • ‘The official minimum riding weight is 10 st over the jumps, while any Flat jockey weighing in at 9st or more will not survive in the trade for long.’
    • ‘The horse has not yet raced this Flat turf season as she awaits suitably fast ground but it seems the time is now fast approaching.’

adverb

  • 1In or to a horizontal position.

    ‘he was lying flat on his back’
    ‘she had been knocked flat by the blast’
    • ‘I shoved a pillow over my ears and lay flat on my stomach.’
    • ‘When the assessment process is complete the council intends to work with contractors to lay flat any headstones presenting an unacceptable risk.’
    • ‘Suddenly the gardeners spot the Queen across the garden and they throw themselves flat on the ground.’
    • ‘Clambering up the west ridge, I got knocked flat a dozen times.’
    • ‘He just fell over and was now laying flat on the ground.’
    • ‘Put down a layer of sand and place the brick units flat upon it.’
    • ‘Lying flat on your back, place your hands behind your head with your elbows pointed to the side.’
    • ‘Lying flat on the back with both legs extended, externally rotate leg.’
    • ‘Always store bead necklaces strung on silk or cotton flat because these threads stretch over time.’
    • ‘One finger lifts the edge up and lays the folder flat, its contents shown.’
    • ‘Aaron let out a yelp of surprise and I fell flat on my back.’
    • ‘I rush down to find her lying flat on her back on the bathroom floor.’
    • ‘She spent eight weeks flat on her back completely still and another eight weeks in this awful body cast.’
    • ‘Lay the meat flat in a casserole dish, or in the big Tupperware container.’
    • ‘The impact caused me to trip over my two feet and fall flat on my stomach, dropping Gabriella.’
    • ‘I tried to do a flip and fell flat on my back with a thud.’
    • ‘Lay the bag flat in a pan and put the pan in the freezer until the broth is a frozen sheet.’
    • ‘I felt one of my enemies jump on my back knocking me flat on the ground.’
    • ‘Jay pulled her hospital gown up to her chest and lay down flat on her back.’
    • ‘I lie flat on the floor and, with my legs straight, I raise my feet about six inches.’
    stretched out, outstretched, spreadeagled, prone, reclining, sprawling, supine, prostrate, recumbent
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Lying in close juxtaposition, especially against another surface.
      ‘his black curly hair was blown flat across his skull’
      • ‘Put your palms flat on the wall at head height so you're positioned to do push-ups against the wall.’
      • ‘They can raise their crests or keep them flat against their heads.’
      • ‘His hair is flat on his head and he looks a bit too calm for a moment.’
      • ‘But she captured me, pulling me close, her palms flat against my back.’
      • ‘Before she could try to move away, he put his palms flat against the wall around her.’
      • ‘She sank back into the cushions, closed her eyes and placed both palms flat over her eyelids.’
      • ‘Placing your knees up and your feet flat on the bench helps to protect your lower back, which again can be vulnerable if you compromise form.’
      • ‘Hold your thighs flat against the padded surface and slowly begin to curl your lower legs up as far as possible.’
      • ‘The puppy's coat should be black and shiny and lie flat to the body.’
      • ‘The woman laid her hands flat against the stone as she leaned toward him.’
      • ‘Sit on a leg press machine, feet flat on the foot plate, about the same distance apart as they are on the bike, knees bent.’
      • ‘He kept throwing glances at the river with ears flat against his skull.’
      • ‘Be sure that the angle cut at the end of the legs are flat against the bottom of the table top.’
      • ‘The New Orleans artist installed her work flat against the wall.’
      • ‘Keep your shoulder blades flat against the wall, with a slight arch in your low back.’
      • ‘Buffy stood still looking straight at the wall, palms flat against it.’
      • ‘Marisa nodded, placing her palms flat on the hull beside his.’
      • ‘Sure enough, a beautiful sword lay flat against the wall.’
      • ‘I became completely still and serene, my hands pressing her shoulders flat against the earth.’
      • ‘The suit should be flat against your shoulder blades, with no wrinkles on the rear.’
    2. 1.2 So as to become smooth and even.
      ‘I hammered the metal flat’
      • ‘Cover your sand form with sheets of wet newspaper to keep the mud walls from sticking to the sand form, smoothing the sheets flat.’
      • ‘But there were no bottles in them, and when she had finished and was folding the bags flat, he cleared his throat.’
      • ‘Press crumb mixture into the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan, using waxed paper to press crumbs flat.’
      • ‘He takes a slow deep breath, and smoothes flat a piece of paper.’
      • ‘I am also a vegetarian and attempt to relocate spiders rather than squashing them flat.’
      • ‘Leaves, soft plants and rotting branches were crushed absolutely flat.’
  • 2informal Completely; absolutely.

    ‘I thought you'd turn me down flat’
    as submodifier ‘Myers was flat broke’
    • ‘I made an enemy that day by turning him down flat.’
    • ‘They were flat broke, but the brothers still had some Marshall gear the label had bought for them.’
    • ‘And, many times I'm flat broke because I also have to support my wife who is jobless.’
    • ‘Their credibility is in shreds and they are flat broke, but they still have one very saleable asset - notoriety.’
    • ‘He wanted to go south, but his van was unreliable and he was flat broke.’
    • ‘In fact, as Kwan readies himself for the fight, dubbed May Day Mayhem, he is flat broke.’
    • ‘The price of this independence was that now, yet again, they were flat broke.’
    • ‘Eriksson has millions on deposit but in the bank of goodwill the guy is flat broke.’
    • ‘You'll either be turned down flat or you'll be charged a higher-than-usual interest rate.’
    • ‘So Lucas called Dad and Dad said he was flat broke and we'd have to get the money from Mum.’
    outright, directly, absolutely
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Used with an expression of time to emphasize how quickly something can be done or has been done.
      ‘you can prepare a healthy meal in ten minutes flat’
      • ‘A second site done shortly afterward was completed in two days flat, largely due to efficiencies gained in diverting the creek.’
      • ‘The art directors did a super job in four hours flat to convert the garage into the movie production office within the film.’
      • ‘In no time flat the available walls were full of public notices, goods and services for sale, community event posters and news from the animal shelter.’
      • ‘The language of the book is simple and straight and its fine printing makes it all the more easy to complete reading the book in 24 hours flat!’
      • ‘The large chains also home deliver but not in 10 minutes flat.’
      • ‘In five years flat, it has given the city a remarkable facelift.’
      • ‘I'd never have got that job done in two hours flat on my own.’
      • ‘He is not happy because the new stadium is not being built in 10 minutes flat.’
      • ‘But a note at the end asserts that this document was produced in three weeks flat after a Senate demand and was accordingly sloppy and full of errors.’
      • ‘It shot into the charts at number 10, unheard of in those days, but stalled well short of the expected number 1 slot and vanished from the charts in six weeks flat.’
      • ‘Soon I could knock off a set in about 20 minutes flat, including cleaning up.’
      • ‘She was at the house in 10 minutes flat.’
      • ‘He could completely clear the husk of a coconut in 34 seconds flat.’
      • ‘To them, it did not matter that the actress turned up 30 minutes late or that she whizzed in and out of the store in 20 minutes flat.’
      • ‘Shot extensively in Bangkok and Thailand, the film was completed in 35 days flat.’
      • ‘Even conversations with friends were completed in under 3 minutes flat.’
      • ‘The last leg, a distance of 70-odd km, was covered in six hours flat.’
      • ‘It didn't stop me being ready in about 30 minutes flat, though.’
      • ‘It imploded and came crumbling down all around the grounds in 37 seconds flat.’
      • ‘Bookshops this Christmas are piled high with short novelty volumes knocked off by their authors in a couple of hours flat.’
  • 3Below the true or normal pitch of musical sound.

    ‘it wasn't a question of singing flat, but of simply singing the wrong notes’
    • ‘If you have to hit a high note or you hear yourself singing flat, raise your arms a little higher and smile.’
    • ‘You need to get a better instrument, or you will have to live with playing flat all the time.’

noun

  • 1The flat part of something.

    ‘she placed the flat of her hand over her glass’
    • ‘The flat of the blade cracked across the back of Lexa's head, knocking her to the ground, the fall jarring her sword from her grip.’
    • ‘She stepped aside again and cracked him in the back of the head with the flat of her sheathed sword.’
    • ‘He was constantly hitting Adrian's side with the flat of his blade.’
    • ‘Luckily I knocked them out pretty good with the flat of my sword.’
    • ‘As soon as their swords parted, he struck him in the side with the flat of his blade.’
    • ‘She slapped his side with the flat of her blade, calmly adding injury to insult before walking away.’
    • ‘Along the flat of the sword more patterns and words were inscribed.’
    • ‘Lay clove on cutting board and smash with the flat of a knife blade.’
    • ‘I lashed out and caught the side of his helmet with the flat of my blade.’
    • ‘On a big chopping board, smash the garlic cloves with the flat of a big knife.’
    • ‘I grabbed it, and pressed the flat of the blade against my wrist.’
    1. 1.1usually flats An area of low level ground, especially near water.
      ‘the shingle flats of the lake’
      • ‘I've been to mud flats where there's a six-foot difference between high tide and low tide.’
      • ‘He explains that because of the unstable ground on the river flats, holes dug for the foundations kept caving in.’
      • ‘Traditional places to try would be the sand flats in the area below the ferry and around Pimlico Island.’
      • ‘Major flooding occurred on the Thomson and Avon Rivers, and the Mitchell River flooded many hectares of vegetable crops on the river flats and cut the highway.’
      • ‘This encourages clam spat to settle out in areas of the flats currently devoid of clam stocks.’
      • ‘Many surface flows, supplied mainly from leaks in the ocean entry tubes, are also observed in the coastal flats near the ocean.’
      • ‘Every degree of added warmth only whets the fishes' appetites and draws them nearer to the flats.’
      • ‘Groupers, jacks and barracuda seek refuge in the wrecks, while large marble rays cruise the sandy flats.’
      • ‘I reach a small flat and remove my pack, look down, and see Asia about 50 feet away.’
      • ‘It's used to patrol for trespassers, set up live firing targets and recover rounds from the sand and tidal flats.’
      • ‘The workers had begun to remove the supports about her hull in order to free the cradle that held her and begin dragging her onto the tide flats.’
      • ‘They were scattered over a mile area and unreachable because of water channels in the flats.’
      • ‘I set the hook, stuffed the rod high and the fish moved off fast across the flats towards the deep water.’
    2. 1.2North American A shallow container in which seedlings are grown and sold.
      • ‘I finally reached the conclusion that the easiest way to get broccoli and cabbage seedlings started was to grow them in a small flat.’
      • ‘To maintain moisture, slip the whole flat or pot into a clear plastic bag after the initial watering.’
      • ‘The soil was watered daily and the flats monitored weekly for germinated seeds until 1 June 1993.’
      • ‘A reference to it in an English gardening magazine aroused my interest, and in the summer I sowed a packet of seeds in a flat.’
      • ‘Seven grams of fertilizer were applied once every two weeks to each flat and all seedlings were maintained in the greenhouse.’
      • ‘I bought a full flat of tomatoes and half a flat of peppers.’
      • ‘A flat or large pot is filled with soil and the seed sprinkled thickly over the top.’
      • ‘For the purpose of companion planting, it's easiest to use flats of marigolds and plant them at the same time or soon after you plant your tomatoes.’
      • ‘Most plants can be set slightly deeper than they were growing in the germination flat.’
      • ‘A few weeks later, Gavin returned with a flat of castor bean seedlings.’
    3. 1.3 A shoe with a very low heel or no heel.
      ‘she wore a white strapless dress and a pair of electric blue flats’
      • ‘Try a ballerina flat, or an open mule with a smartly shaped heel.’
      • ‘In the end, I settled for this pair of flats (in cream & black) from Top Shop.’
      • ‘A moccasin is the must-have shoe in a stylish high-heel or casual flat.’
      • ‘There's nothing quite like a pretty pair of flats to top off any casual outfit.’
      • ‘I simply adore these polka dot flats and platforms.’
      • ‘Flats are great with a mini skirt or dress but when it comes to heels, the higher the better!’
      • ‘For years, the ballerina flat was the shoe of choice to wear with cropped pants.’
      • ‘Another closet staple for last year and this year still, are flats.’
    4. 1.4 A railway wagon with a flat floor and no sides or roof; a flatcar.
  • 2often flatsAn upright section of stage scenery mounted on a movable frame.

    • ‘You open and close the curtain, set up the flats and backdrops, and check to make sure that everything is going right backstage.’
    • ‘The set is made up solely of movable sea-blue coloured flats, so to speak the empty hull of a baroque stage apparatus.’
    • ‘Banks of paintings can be pulled out, like stage flats.’
    • ‘The second Act seemed to be set in a corridor-as-waiting-room typical of many hospitals I have visited, but with the rear wall being a flat of painted forest.’
    • ‘The set - lots of slatted flats - keeps moving around a lot, without ever looking different.’
  • 3North American informal A flat tyre.

    ‘I've got a flat—there were nails under the wheel’
    • ‘Also, puncture flats will leak more slowly allowing racers to ride longer until support reaches them, or possibly make it back to the pits in a criterium.’
    • ‘Negotiating a bike downhill, through a peloton, with a front flat at over 65 kph is not good.’
    • ‘The reason for this is if you get a flat in that tire, you will have to take the whole track off to change the tire.’
    • ‘As far as repairing a flat on the road, we haven't yet finalized how riders will be able to achieve this.’
    • ‘Before they can confirm any details, the car gets a flat.’
    • ‘And usually when one tire blows out, the tire adjacent to the flat can blowout easily from the increased pressure.’
    • ‘You don't want to be the idiot who makes the whole ride stop for 20 minutes while you fix a flat.’
    • ‘I remember Bob kept getting flats and we were out of spares, so we had to use the patch kit.’
    • ‘If there's too much camber on one side of a tire, overwear is imminent, and so is a flat.’
    • ‘Late in the afternoon, when he hadn't returned, she worried he'd had a flat.’
    • ‘Coupled with my broken chain and another rider's flat, it definitely put a crimp in our mileage.’
    • ‘When emerging from the club, my back tire got a flat.’
    • ‘You always have a light where you're looking-handy for fixing a flat or broken chain.’
  • 4British Flat racing.

    • ‘The mere fact that the racing on a Wednesday in the middle of January can be 75% on the Flat shows how sharply the structure of racing has changed in recent years.’
    • ‘On the Flat at Lingfield, Lady Bear has what could be her final career start, in the Littlewoods Bet Direct Fleur De Lys Stakes.’
    • ‘The Cheltenham Gold Cup was a sell-out and watched by more than two million people, a 25 per cent audience share. It is a similar story on the Flat.’
    • ‘He had previously won a bumper at Tipperary and her bred for the flat opponents could never catch her as John Kielys mare made every post a winning one.’
  • 5A musical note lowered a semitone below natural pitch.

    • ‘By remembering a simple pattern one can determine the amount of sharps and flats in a major chord.’
    • ‘The two flats cancel out the one given sharp, leaving one flat remaining - the resulting key, the one we need to play in, is F.’
    • ‘The flats and sharps are placed on the printed page accordingly.’
    • ‘Sharps and flats are introduced near the end of the book, but different key signatures are not discussed or used in Book 1.’
    • ‘His scale organizes the notes into octaves, with sharps and flats in between.’
    1. 5.1 The sign ♭, indicating a flat.

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1usually as adjective flattedNorth American Music
    Lower (a note) by a semitone.

    ‘‘blue’ harmony emphasizing the flatted third and seventh’
    • ‘All this Taylor achieves with subtle elisions and slides and what are often the most fleeting of flatted notes.’
    • ‘There is a lot of ‘bent pitch’ - momentary flatting or sharping of the main pitch - in these performances.’
    • ‘One piece includes blues-like flatted thirds written as D-sharps and a few later pieces involve E-flat and B-flat accidentals that suggest dominant seventh harmony.’
    • ‘With its visceral tritones and flatted seconds, the band's sound revolved more around the riff than the song.’
    • ‘I saw that life was not like books at all, but more like headlines-barroom brawls, a blues song sung with flatted notes.’
  • 2archaic Make flat; flatten.

    ‘flat the loaves down’
    • ‘Now that the main design was completed it was time to add several coats of clear so I could flat them down and get rid of any raised edges.’
    • ‘Lay them off on buttered tins, about the size of walnuts, flat them down, and bake them in a slow oven.’

Phrases

  • fall flat

    • Fail completely to produce the intended or expected effect.

      ‘his jokes fell flat’
      • ‘I was afraid that all my jokes were falling flat.’
      • ‘The story is ridiculous, the characters are clichéd and stereotyped, and all the jokes fall flat.’
      • ‘He bantered amiably with the crowd, though some of his jokes fell flat.’
      • ‘However, the script fails him by falling flat in the moments where you expect the most to be delivered.’
      • ‘He perfected an air of modesty and if his jokes fell flat he had a comical line in self-deprecation.’
      • ‘Some of the dialogue falls flat with some forced jokes, but overall the writing is clever enough to propel the movie.’
      • ‘Some of the jokes fall flat, and I'm not sure how I feel about the tone of the ending.’
      • ‘The eerie silence made him look, at moments, like a stand-up comic whose jokes were falling flat; but of course this was no laughing matter.’
      • ‘I considered cheering her up with maybe a joke or something, but my jokes always fall flat.’
      • ‘Admittedly, most of the cast lack the comic timing to make all the jokes fly, but for every joke that does fall flat there are at least two more that work.’
      fail, be unsuccessful, not succeed, lack success, fall through, break down, abort, miscarry, be defeated, suffer defeat, be in vain, be frustrated, collapse, founder, misfire, backfire, not come up to scratch, meet with disaster, come to grief, come to nothing, come to naught, miss the mark, run aground, go astray
      View synonyms
  • fall flat on one's face

    • Fail in an embarrassingly obvious way.

      ‘we might fall flat on our faces and end up bankrupt’
      • ‘And, if by some miracle, he falls flat on his face during the debates and the party needs a new leader, I've got the perfect candidate.’
      • ‘After all, the president falls flat on his face quite frequently, for reasons that nobody can adequately explain.’
      • ‘People from many other nationalities, including some from Scotland, Ireland and Wales, have been desperate for the day when he falls flat on his face.’
      • ‘Moreover, the exam was a very poor predictor of success, as many apparent failures went on to do very well while those early high fliers fell flat on their face.’
      • ‘Thus began another day of me getting all excited, thinking everything was going well and then falling flat on my face once more.’
      • ‘The team had the smoothest possible path laid out at the World Cup yet still fell flat on their face.’
      • ‘Lee was sacked after his cold-calling sales pitches fell flat on their face.’
      • ‘Its attraction stems largely from the fact that it is utterly unpredictable, with most pre-match forecasts falling flat on their face.’
      • ‘Things might not work out in either domain, and I could find myself falling flat on my face if I allow my hopes to rise up too high.’
      • ‘I always thought you weren't cut out to be a proper lady and I knew I'd be here waiting when you fell flat on your face.’
  • flat out

    • 1As fast or as hard as possible.

      ‘the whole team is working flat out to satisfy demand’
      • ‘The three main parties have been working flat out to get themselves into the best possible starting point for the weeks ahead.’
      • ‘Surgical teams worked flat out performing intricate grafts on the victims in the four operating theatres commandeered for the emergency.’
      • ‘A combination of moveable and unobtrusive scaffolding was used and the team of four worked flat out to complete the job in only eight days.’
      • ‘Maintenance and teaching staff worked flat out to make sure the school reopened as quickly as possible.’
      • ‘The National Trust's property and forestry teams are now working flat out and have been all over the weekend to try and clear the debris and make safe the damage, as far as is possible, as more gales and rain are forecast.’
      • ‘To help with this, forensic teams have been working flat out to gather DNA and fingerprint evidence.’
      • ‘But, is it too much to expect both teams to go flat out to win?’
      • ‘The team is pushing flat out to stay on top against tough opposition.’
      • ‘We'll have a ten-strong team working flat out for four weeks from July.’
      • ‘They love their team and they go flat out for them.’
    • 2Without hesitation or reservation.

      ‘she flat out said she didn't trust her fellow board members’
      ‘flat-out perjury’
      • ‘Alana told me flat out that she's voting for Jessica.’
      • ‘He says flat out that he's not going to vote for the president's bill.’
      • ‘He has been totally objective and even flat out rejected some of the sample devices.’
      • ‘You just flat out didn't like our vote.’
      • ‘He was completely ignoring her, flat out, acting like an immature child.’
      • ‘There were whole stretches where he just flat out refused to guard him.’
      • ‘On the other hand, I flat out disagree with this.’
      • ‘Hannah stared at him, wondering if he really was just flat out crazy.’
      • ‘You flat out lied to the entire world.’
      • ‘I attempted to figure out if any of her words had a hidden implication, but she spoke flat out.’
      hard, as hard as possible, for all one's worth, vigorously, with a vengeance, to the utmost, to the full, to the limit, all out
      View synonyms
    • 3Lying stretched out, especially asleep or in a state of exhaustion.

      ‘he lay flat out, breathing heavily’
      • ‘A clash of heads left one player lying flat out on the pitch.’
      • ‘Not only did he photograph battleships and the fleet at sea, but he also turned his camera at everyday life on board, recording members of the crew at work, the ship's dog, and even an exhausted sailor flat out asleep on deck.’
      • ‘A friend drove him - lying flat out on the back seat of a Range Rover to avoid photographers - from the house in Didsbury.’
      • ‘Once it's safely locked up and all the lights are out you can lie flat out across the seats and sleep until the next morning, when it takes you back in to work.’
      • ‘Everywhere I look, lads are perched on the edge of the pavement; or stretched flat out on it; or slumped against walls, absently texting.’
      • ‘The ex-chief of command was lying flat out on the small bunk, eyes boring a hole into the ceiling.’
      • ‘Creeping over to see if she was all right he found her lying flat out on her back.’
      • ‘Spread out on a fluffy blue mat and surrounded by squeaky toys is an extremely cute one-year-old, flat out asleep.’
      • ‘Lying flat out on the sidewalk with a sizeable bruise on my forehead and Miles by my side, I instantly thought what immediately blurted from his mouth.’
      • ‘I rushed outside and she was laid flat out with blood pouring from her right ear.’
  • flat stick (or tack)

    • informal As fast or as hard as possible.

      ‘he went flat stick from the start no matter how far the race’
      • ‘The youngster had been flat stick, working shifts at a radio station, working in his uncle's shop, and even cleaning cars.’
      • ‘Staff had been "flat tack" all day and had been called to about five electrical fires caused by fallen power lines.’
      • ‘I don't know why the rest of my colleagues didn't say something to me because I was talking flat tack.’
      • ‘The rumour mill is going flat stick about him not lasting the distance this election.’
      • ‘Her oar must have caught a little wave and rolled the boat straight over because they were going flat tack.’
  • on the flat

    • 1On level ground as opposed to uphill.

      ‘the car wouldn't go uphill or overtake on the flat’
      • ‘Tackling a slight incline soon has you dropping out of fifth but on the flat the extra ratio reduces noise levels and helps economy.’
      • ‘On the vet's advice, for two months we walked her on the flat and short distances only to see if it was a sprain that would heal and it hasn't.’
      • ‘Walking, whether on hills or on the flat, is a popular past-time in the locality.’
      • ‘As you accelerate the gentle roar of the engine is quite deceptive as the car speeds up on the flat although it was tested by some of the steeper hills.’
      • ‘The climbs will sort it out, so it's not going to be a case of hanging on the flat and ducking and diving in a sprint finish.’
      1. 1.1(of a horse race) on an open course as opposed to one with jumps.
        • ‘Many jump jockeys start on the Flat, and move over when their weight becomes too much to shed in the sauna.’
        • ‘An ordinary horse on the Flat would have to win five or six races a season to cover his training fees.’
        • ‘You need to have good horses to compete on the Flat and the ones I get are not up to that standard.’
        • ‘These races are usually confined to four, five and six-year-olds who have not run on the Flat - and have not yet competed in jumping races.’
        • ‘Although the four-year-old was a beaten favourite on his debut over hurdles, he was a pretty decent horse on the Flat last season.’
        • ‘He is one of the few jumps trainers to have enjoyed success on the Flat, landing several races at Royal Ascot as well as the Northumberland Plate and the Doncaster Cup.’
        • ‘He began training 48 years ago and has had success both on the Flat and over jumps, training over 2,000 winners.’
        • ‘His remarkable record embraced no fewer than 37 victories - 21 on the Flat and 16 over jumps from 85 races under both codes.’
        • ‘The massive first prize of £104,000 in the Pitmen's Derby bettered anything previously won in a single race by any Scottish trainer on the Flat or over jumps.’
        • ‘The gelding, a decent handicapper on the Flat, has run two respectable races over hurdles this season.’
  • that's flat

    • informal Used to indicate that one has reached a decision and will not be persuaded to change one's mind.

      ‘he won't leave and that's flat’
      • ‘That's our final offer and that's flat.’
      • ‘I won't, and that's flat. I'm not getting rid of him.’
      • ‘I'm not coming, and that's flat.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old Norse flatr.

Pronunciation

flat

/flat/

Main definitions of flat in English

: flat1flat2

flat2

noun

British
  • A set of rooms forming an individual residence, typically on one floor and within a larger building containing a number of such residences.

    ‘a block of flats’
    • ‘The development will offer parking space in the basement, commercial facilities on the ground floor, and residential flats on floors one to nine.’
    • ‘A number of residents have objected saying they would either prefer a small number of large residential homes to flats, or no homes at all.’
    • ‘Future years will see 23-storey office blocks, supermarkets, arts buildings, more flats and housing.’
    • ‘This spurred construction of apartment buildings with several flats per floor.’
    • ‘There are around 120 flats in the tower block, with six flats on each floor.’
    • ‘A disabled resident of a block of council flats constantly attacked by arsonists has called for the building to be demolished.’
    • ‘Residents of four flats in the terraced building above the centre were safely evacuated but the animals were not so fortunate.’
    • ‘A brave neighbour ran into a smoke-logged block of flats to wake residents after one of the apartments caught fire.’
    • ‘Residents in flats and homes in the town centre are also being urged to join the scheme.’
    • ‘A campaign has started by residents to stop plans for a three-storey block of flats in the garden of an empty house.’
    • ‘The majority of the residents of the flats and bungalows are elderly.’
    • ‘The developer wants to convert the 100-year-old building into eight flats, two town houses and two starter homes.’
    • ‘In contrast, most British residential blocks of flats were built by local authorities in the 1950s - 70s.’
    • ‘The building of flats and apartments alone will not solve the city's housing issue.’
    • ‘Today these historical buildings house a mix of flats, maisonettes and townhouses, and one conversion has just come on the market.’
    • ‘Plans had been submitted to City of York Council to build four flats in the building, and another 20 in newly-built blocks in the grounds.’
    • ‘These range from one bed room flats to five bedroom houses, with 44 affordable homes and 30 low cost starter homes.’
    • ‘Residents in blocks of flats had begun to club together to buy generators.’
    • ‘The surgery would be in one of two six to eight-storey residential buildings, including 133 flats, 48 of which would be for affordable housing.’
    • ‘Under the plans, the pub would be demolished and a three-storey building housing the flats would be built.’
    apartment, set of rooms, penthouse, home, residence, accommodation
    View synonyms

verb

NZ, Australian
  • no object, with adverbial of place Live in or share a flat.

    ‘Zoë flats in Auckland’
    • ‘Not a person you'd accuse of indecision, she grew up in Mayfield and when she came to Christchurch in 1955 flatted at the YWCA hostel with another Mid-Canterbury girl destined to achieve in sport - Val Young.’
    • ‘I flatted in Auckland.’
    • ‘Will I still be flatting here when I'm 30 (no doubt with married friends who will take me and the three cats I will have by then in out of pity)?’
    • ‘All three were flatting together at Linwood and training every day, with weekends off.’
    • ‘Jennifer Murray, 22, a first-year environmental management student flatting in Te Puna, said the new accommodation would help ease the demand on flats.’

Phrases

  • go flatting

    • Leave one's family home to live in a flat.

      ‘in my third year I left home and went flatting with David’
      • ‘And then I went flatting and moved house every year or so.’
      • ‘I blame the hostel food finally catching up to me, then going flatting and getting to choose my own food All The Time!’
      • ‘Many students go flatting while they study at university.’
      • ‘He'd personally paid off her car and furniture and when, 6 months down the track, she'd said she was selling the house and going flatting with some friends from college, he'd been quite taken aback.’
      • ‘Reading the first two articles in this series reminded me of some of the crazy things that happened when I first went flatting.’

Origin

Early 19th century (denoting a floor or storey): alteration of obsolete flet ‘floor, dwelling’, of Germanic origin and related to flat.

Pronunciation

flat

/flat/