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’
    • ‘"This is probably a sedimentary rock made up of particles that have accumulated on a fairly flat surface.’
    • ‘For the cod place the rice paper sheets on a flat worksurface.’
    • ‘The backrest folds in an uncomplicated fashion to create a roomy and flat load area.’
    • ‘The stern was dominated by a flat expanse of steel - the helicopter deck.’
    • ‘Water simply passes out from the wall, falls against a flat surface and trickles into a surrounding moat.’
    • ‘Temporarily prop up the two end trusses on a level, flat surface.’
    • ‘The park, at the rear of the Memorial Hall car park, was opened earlier this year as an area of flat hard surface.’
    • ‘This makes both surfaces as flat and even as possible, to allow for the maximum amount of contact.’
    • ‘They made their way to a large cliff where a big rock sat at the end with a flat surface.’
    • ‘Put stones in the narrow area and use flat rocks on top of them.’
    • ‘Last year a ten-metre area of flat tarmacadam-type surface was laid down at a cost of around £4,000.’
    • ‘They have to be level, flat and firmly secured to the picture and the wall.’
    • ‘Then, at last, it was full steam ahead - along a broad, flat, gravel track.’
    • ‘The television has a perfectly flat plasma display screen.’
    • ‘Once the soil is ready, he tamps the beds with a sheet of plywood so the soil is firm and flat.’
    • ‘The animals have long sharp canines and broad flat molars that grind shells.’
    • ‘The recommendation now is to use solid black plastic under a mulch on relatively flat surfaces.’
    • ‘She said all that was needed was a flat tarmacademed area.’
    • ‘Apparently the five rear seats do come out to leave a flat load area but the process is simply too much like hard work.’
    • ‘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.’
    level, horizontal, levelled
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of land) without hills:
      ‘thirty-five acres of flat countryside’
      • ‘Except for mountain chains in the north and west along the Norwegian border, the land is relatively flat.’
      • ‘Most of the land is flat, barren tundra where only the top few inches of the frozen earth thaw out during the summer months.’
      • ‘The terrain was flat and unspectacular.’
      • ‘We drive through flat wastelands of scrub and dust.’
      • ‘Most of the ride is on quiet roads and cycle paths over flat terrain, with the occasional gentle hill.’
      • ‘The topography of the county ranges from low rolling hills in the north to very flat terrain or gentle sloping ridges in the south.’
      • ‘I love the wonderful flat landscape with its wide skies where so many flocks of birds fly freely.’
      • ‘The surrounding land is flat and open farmland surrounded by forest.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The bright, flat landscape filled her view, radiant with heat.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was standing on a flat desert plain under white clouds and blue sky.’
      • ‘Because of the flat terrain, a bicycle is the best form of transportation to use in the city.’
      • ‘In contrast, the western half of the route is nearly flat and offers long, expansive views across large sweeps of farmland.’
      • ‘A fruit and vegetable farm was located on the flat plains of Western Kansas.’
      • ‘Flanders, in contrast, is a land of flat country and few hills.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The city sits on high, flat plains 12 miles east of the Rockies.’
    2. 1.2 (of an expanse of water) calm and without waves.
      • ‘To the south the flat expanse of Lake Dokan shone greasily in the low evening light like fish scales.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Floating on calm, flat water, some thought that it represented human dominance over nature.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The water was flat calm, about a foot deep with a very soft bottom.’
      calm, still, tranquil, pacific, undisturbed, without waves, like a millpond
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 Not sloping:
      ‘the flat roof of a garage’
      • ‘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 huts had flat roofs; some even had things on top of them.’
      • ‘The double-height section between the elevated bedrooms is covered with a flat glass roof.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The flat roof in the girls toilet has fallen in so when it rains, it is flooded.’
      • ‘Insulating your flat roof would be a fairly basic DIY job.’
      • ‘The burglars used a nearby ladder to climb onto a flat roof before forcing open a window.’
      • ‘Combined with replacement of the flat roof over the front of the building, it is estimated the essential repairs will cost £100,000.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 flat roofs that leak need to be replaced, as do the heating system and the windows.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It stated that the stairwell tower should be reduced in height by removing the pitched roof and replacing it with a flat roof.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The city has rebuilt the flat roofs of about 2,500 houses since 2000.’
      • ‘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 nursery building, which was converted in the 1980s, has a flat roof that first started leaking last year.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Combining the three spaces involved more than removing walls and raising the kitchen's flat ceiling.’
      • ‘Withdrawing from the edge, I ducked under the rafter of the flat roof.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The beaver uses its flat tail to warn other beavers of danger by slapping the water surface before diving.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I could walk it - and wouldn't even need my flat cap and plastic mac.’
      • ‘Outside the grand clubhouse, you almost expect chaps to be wandering around in plus-fours and flat caps.’
      • ‘Connor, resplendent in blue overcoat and black flat cap, hardly stood still.’
      • ‘She produced a flat black box, a little smaller than a directory.’
      • ‘The tube has a flat, wide cap and is meant to be stored upright.’
      • ‘Apparently he left the venue wearing a flat cap.’
      • ‘The guy with the flat cap and hearing aid was standing in the door.’
      • ‘His flat cap and round rimmed glasses are his trademark.’
      • ‘Approximately 25 cm long, the animal has a flat tail surrounded by a skin-like fin which is used for swimming.’
      • ‘The guitarist looks like an accountant, the drummer stands up behind his kit to play whilst wearing a flat cap.’
      • ‘So I'm standing on the platform, and I see an older guy, in quite a distinctive flat cap.’
      • ‘He is the old bloke with the flat cap and the transistor radio, isn't he?’
      • ‘People used to think the earth was flat and the universe revolved around it.’
      • ‘Most men covered their heads with flat wool caps or skullcaps or turbans in a variety of sizes and colours.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Once outside, Cordelia pulled out a flat aqua cellphone, the size of a playing card when it was closed.’
      shallow, not deep, wide
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5 (of shoes) without heels or with very low heels.
      • ‘I wear flat shoes for walking to work but otherwise it's high heels.’
      • ‘Swap your sensible flat shoes for heels, add a glittery scarf and statement jewellery.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘How is it that flat shoes hurt more than high heels?’
      • ‘The girl was dressed in a very long black coat and wearing a pair of white flat sandals.’
      • ‘While you can get away with flat shoes during summer, opt for a slight heel for the colder months.’
      • ‘An itsy-bitsy kitten heel keeps the flat shoe feeling, but give some extra lift to your step.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If high heels are too uncomfortable, why not just wear flat shoes?’
      • ‘There are theories that men sprinting in flat shoes get out faster than women hampered by heels or waiting to help a colleague.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She scraped her flat shoes across the ground to dislodge any stale mud and walked to the centre of the alley.’
      • ‘The women of New York are wearing flat sandals - and looking stunning.’
      • ‘Although flat shoes are better for your feet because they reduce the risk of lateral ankle sprains, they also bring their own problems.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She walked on down the passageway, her soft flat shoes making no sound.’
      • ‘At the time she was wearing flat shoes, her work uniform and was carrying a handbag over her left shoulder.’
      low, low-heeled, heelless, without heels
      View synonyms
  • 2Lacking emotion; dull and lifeless:

    ‘‘I'm sorry,’ he said, in a flat voice’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘My voice was flat and expressionless, edged with steel and contempt for my enemy.’
    • ‘That description was far too flat and emotionless and pain-free.’
    • ‘My speaking voice is rather flat, but my singing voice is good.’
    • ‘His voice was flat, void of any emotion, which led Anna to wonder if he felt anything at all about his father.’
    • ‘She replied in a flat voice, only putting emotion into certain words.’
    • ‘I have never seen a film where everybody is so uniformly flat.’
    • ‘With no special effects the soundtrack does what it needs to do, although to be honest, it sometimes sounded rather flat and dull.’
    • ‘Her voice was flat and emotionless and Ryder wanted to kick himself for making her sound like that.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His speech, delivered without notes, struck observers as both compassionate and professional - while the older man was dull and flat.’
    • ‘Her voice is flat, with a halfhearted hitch and no emotional delivery.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Dana's feminine voice grew quite flat and emotionless, and even a little haunting.’
    • ‘The fact that Cosmos is such a classic tune makes this dull, flat rendition even more of an affront.’
    • ‘At first I assumed this mix would be flat and lifeless - to my surprise it sounded far better than I was hoping.’
    • ‘His voice cracked and then went flat, devoid of emotion.’
    • ‘This Court production looks gorgeous - the costumes and set are stunning - but feels strangely flat and lifeless.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘Consumer demand is flat and business bankruptcies are rising.’
      • ‘Locally, hiring is expected to remain virtually flat this year.’
      • ‘Here in Australia, retail sales are already flat, apparently because consumers are avoiding using their cars and staying at home.’
      • ‘While overall world oil demand was essentially flat in 1993, demand in the Western Pacific rose four percent.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The company has been in a prolonged slump, with flat sales in the United States and a stock price to match.’
      • ‘Overall sales have been flat for five years.’
      • ‘Even in years when economic growth is flat or negative, electricity consumption nearly always increases.’
      • ‘Even so, its new forecast of flat prices looks plausible and matches my view.’
      • ‘But sales have been flat for the embattled company, whose CEO was recently ousted.’
      • ‘The company posted an encouraging increase in pre-tax profit even though turnover remained essentially flat.’
      • ‘Consumer spending may not look too resilient, given the flat performance of retail sales in October.’
      • ‘Its sales were relatively flat in 2001, due in part to lower gasoline prices affecting its stores with fuel pumps.’
      • ‘Then, late last year, sales were nearly flat and actually declined in some categories.’
      • ‘The group said that despite higher volumes, the Republic of Ireland's trading profits were broadly flat in a pretty buoyant market.’
      • ‘Wage growth was essentially flat over the past year.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Following two months of flat sales, retail spending rose by 1.3 percent in October.’
      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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His style is stark and angular, relying heavily on the use of flat colour and silhouettes.’
      • ‘Francis Towne was a landscape painter whose idiosyncratic style relied on economic and careful pen outlines and flat muted washes of colour.’
      • ‘You sort of notice perspective and lines and flat planes of colour.’
      • ‘The textile is placed awkwardly on top of the table, creating areas of strong, flat colour and signalling Matisse's future as a painter.’
      • ‘There are other panels with flat planes of tertiary colour, some with simple linear designs.’
      • ‘It was different than other tattoos in the fact that it was in metallic gold, most were done in dull flat colours.’
    4. 2.4 (of a photograph or negative) lacking contrast.
      • ‘Blasting the subject with a sea of light produces flat, wishy-washy photographs.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 3(of a sparkling drink) having lost its effervescence:

    ‘she sipped some of the flat champagne’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is shockingly sweet at first - a fizzy drink gone flat in the sun.’
    • ‘My father wrapped me up in his bathrobe and I got to sit up with my parents, drink flat ginger ale and watch TV.’
    • ‘He took his now flat soda from his jacket and walked into the study to await Monica.’
    • ‘She emailed me to say that they're to keep the drink from going flat.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘Some people make a big fuss about this stuff, which tastes like flat soda pop to me.’
    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.
      • ‘His bike had a flat tire, but that was to be expected.’
      • ‘He was picked up because he was driving with a flat tyre.’
      • ‘He then discovered he had a flat tyre and took his car back into the garage to deal with it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He even rode the last 40 km of the final stage with two flat tyres.’
      • ‘The accident expert would also investigate allegations that the bus had a flat tyre at the time of the accident.’
      • ‘When they reached the jeep, Abby noticed that she had a flat tire.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Most are untaxed, others carry out-of-date tax discs and virtually all have flat tyres or have been vandalised and are obviously dumped.’
      • ‘In this case, the only damage caused to the civilian was a flat tyre.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The first warning came when I first grabbed my bike. My back tire was completely flat.’
      • ‘He soon trades it for a mountain bike with a flat tyre and a modest handful of small gold coins.’
      • ‘You would not run your car with a flat tyre for twelve months without expecting further damage than the burst tyre.’
      • ‘A youngster was left in tears after his bike was snatched as he fixed a flat tyre.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘On one particular trip my dad's car got a flat tyre and only just made it to the half-way stop.’
      • ‘A woman had been driving down a freeway, and had had a flat tyre.’
      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.
      • ‘It turned out not to be a straight case of a flat battery.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There is just one small problem: the batteries have gone flat.’
      • ‘Have you noticed for example, friends and workmates asking you for their best friend's phone number because their mobile battery is flat?’
      • ‘And you know how, when the battery's flat, your car makes a dispiriting grinding noise as you try starting it?’
      • ‘There were two smoke alarms installed in the house, but one had been disconnected and the second had flat batteries.’
      • ‘Sometimes the battery was flat and needed topping up.’
      • ‘My 1996 Mercedes suffers a flat battery in just a couple of weeks if left undriven.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The car was pushed 20-feet up the street but then abandoned with a flat battery.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘Booked the car in for a thorough inspection of its electrical system, following one flat battery too many.’
      • ‘I thought my battery was flat and got out to check the lights.’
      • ‘I grabbed the phone and realised the battery was flat; before I'd even got to the phone the car had sped away.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I had some shopping to do and jumped in my vehicle only to find the battery was flat.’
      • ‘Bennett ends up having to turn his music down, recharge her van's flat battery, and become her reluctant carer.’
      expired, dead, finished, used up, run out
      View synonyms
  • 4[attributive] (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
    • ‘Only two ministers opposed the Labour Cabinet's proposal for a flat income tax in December 1987.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It also pointed out that solicitors receive a flat fee from legal aid and stand to lose earnings if a case is adjourned.’
    • ‘The flat income tax was seen as a way to create fair taxation.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The centrepiece of the reforms is the introduction of a flat income tax rate of 20 percent and the dismantling of social services.’
    • ‘Many online brokers now charge a flat fee of around £10 per trade.’
    • ‘Bank of Ireland offers a service whereby customers can have 90 transactions in return for a flat fee of £9 per quarter.’
    • ‘Most people are astonished how cheap flat fee access could be.’
    • ‘He or she will often charge you a flat fee or an hourly rate.’
    • ‘Instead of taking a percentage cut of a bond's face value, some charge a flat fee.’
    • ‘Future revenue would be harvested from a single-rate flat tax on wages or, better still, a stiff sales tax on consumption.’
    • ‘Brokers get a flat commission, plus a smaller annual commission, called a trail.’
    • ‘Once we'd agreed on a budget, she explained that she charged a flat fee for her services.’
    • ‘Revenue growth in its core publishing business was flat last year.’
    • ‘He cites as helpful such reforms as the launch of a flat income tax.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘There's a flat fee, based on circulation, just to take advantage of the program.’
    • ‘Aidan O'Hogan said that he would caution against the introduction of flat fees.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The flat denials at the start of the week changed instead to a promise of full co-operation.’
      • ‘When I reached the desk, I got blank faces and flat refusals.’
      • ‘So when I brought this helmet home for him to try out, I expected a flat refusal.’
      • ‘He couldn't afford to take it, not as it currently stood, but a flat refusal would stiffen the old man's position.’
      • ‘Amazingly, this sharp slowdown in consumer spending, though lasting for half a year, has been met with flat denial all around.’
      • ‘He reacted furiously to the news of the mutiny of the soldiers, rushing to the scene after their flat refusal to fight.’
      • ‘And there does seem to be a pretty flat contradiction between those two points.’
      • ‘On many occasions they have demanded information on the terms of the deal, but met with a flat refusal.’
      • ‘Because the individual himself is at stake during the seduction, he cannot risk a flat refusal from the potential partner.’
      • ‘This provocative thesis elicits flat denials from both governments.’
      • ‘Perkins issued a flat denial that he had ever had anything to do with Duke, and he denounced him for good measure.’
      • ‘Well, I know it came out like a flat denial, and I think one of the things I can do is clear it up.’
      • ‘Firstly, a flat rebuttal of another's opinion is not in itself a statement of fact, simply a disagreement in terms.’
      • ‘Media bias is not exclusive to Australia, nor is the flat denial of its existence by those who clearly display it.’
      • ‘As an observer, I can testify that the comments made by these powerful and successful people were in flat contradiction to the caricature.’
      • ‘Then comes the flat proclamation that nothing happened to civilians; nothing whatever.’
      • ‘In 2004, the media has not made an issue over Teresa Heinz's flat refusal to release her tax returns.’
      • ‘The news flies in the face of flat denials by the BBC in Glasgow.’
      • ‘But with an official investigation underway, even a flat denial from head office won't still the rumors.’
      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.

    • ‘The dialogue is often difficult to hear and the music sounds tinny and flat.’
    • ‘They can't sing, most of their notes were flat.’
    • ‘The beginning of her song was flat and she is singing to low for her voice range so she's straining.’
    • ‘I thought the performance was great but the singing was flat.’
    • ‘He finally gave in and belted out the limited lyrics from memory accompanied by flat notes.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 5.1[postpositive] (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. 5.2[postpositive] (of a note) a semitone lower than a specified note:
      ‘E flat’
      • ‘Arranged for trumpet sextet and a continuo instrument (bassoon or euphonium are suggested), this piece can be performed in B-flat, C or D.’
      • ‘For example, the coda of the great Schubert B flat sonata was played at a breakneck pace and was technically perfect.’
      • ‘Sound does travel in space, evidenced by the B flat note emanating from a black hole discovered by scientists in the last couple weeks.’
      • ‘The concert opened with a riveting account of Haydn's late E flat Sonata.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We played the Schubert B flat Trio and the Tchaikovsky.’
      • ‘Nonetheless, a movement such as the Largo in the B flat concerto can only amaze with its expressiveness and power.’
  • 6Relating to flat racing:

    ‘the Flat season’
    • ‘As promised, since it's that time of year, here are my Ten To Follow for the Flat season ahead.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Ayr Racecourse will host its first Ladies' Night of the Flat season on Thursday when Regional Racing will also make its Scottish debut.’
    • ‘The Flat season had just ended and he was going to make the most of it.’

adverb

  • 1In or to a horizontal position:

    ‘he was lying flat on his back’
    ‘she had been knocked flat by the blast’
    • ‘One finger lifts the edge up and lays the folder flat, its contents shown.’
    • ‘When the assessment process is complete the council intends to work with contractors to lay flat any headstones presenting an unacceptable risk.’
    • ‘Aaron let out a yelp of surprise and I fell flat on my back.’
    • ‘Lay the meat flat in a casserole dish, or in the big Tupperware container.’
    • ‘I tried to do a flip and fell flat on my back with a thud.’
    • ‘The impact caused me to trip over my two feet and fall flat on my stomach, dropping Gabriella.’
    • ‘Jay pulled her hospital gown up to her chest and lay down flat on her back.’
    • ‘Lying flat on your back, place your hands behind your head with your elbows pointed to the side.’
    • ‘Put down a layer of sand and place the brick units flat upon it.’
    • ‘Suddenly the gardeners spot the Queen across the garden and they throw themselves flat on the ground.’
    • ‘I felt one of my enemies jump on my back knocking me flat on the ground.’
    • ‘Lying flat on the back with both legs extended, externally rotate leg.’
    • ‘I shoved a pillow over my ears and lay flat on my stomach.’
    • ‘He just fell over and was now laying flat on the ground.’
    • ‘She spent eight weeks flat on her back completely still and another eight weeks in this awful body cast.’
    • ‘I rush down to find her lying flat on her back on the bathroom floor.’
    • ‘Lay the bag flat in a pan and put the pan in the freezer until the broth is a frozen sheet.’
    • ‘Clambering up the west ridge, I got knocked flat a dozen times.’
    • ‘Always store bead necklaces strung on silk or cotton flat because these threads stretch over time.’
    • ‘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.’
      • ‘But she captured me, pulling me close, her palms flat against my back.’
      • ‘Marisa nodded, placing her palms flat on the hull beside his.’
      • ‘The New Orleans artist installed her work flat against the wall.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Buffy stood still looking straight at the wall, palms flat against it.’
      • ‘His hair is flat on his head and he looks a bit too calm for a moment.’
      • ‘The puppy's coat should be black and shiny and lie flat to the body.’
      • ‘Sure enough, a beautiful sword lay flat against the wall.’
      • ‘They can raise their crests or keep them flat against their heads.’
      • ‘She sank back into the cushions, closed her eyes and placed both palms flat over her eyelids.’
      • ‘The woman laid her hands flat against the stone as she leaned toward him.’
      • ‘The suit should be flat against your shoulder blades, with no wrinkles on the rear.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Hold your thighs flat against the padded surface and slowly begin to curl your lower legs up as far as possible.’
      • ‘I became completely still and serene, my hands pressing her shoulders flat against the earth.’
      • ‘He kept throwing glances at the river with ears flat against his skull.’
      • ‘Keep your shoulder blades flat against the wall, with a slight arch in your low back.’
      • ‘Be sure that the angle cut at the end of the legs are flat against the bottom of the table top.’
      • ‘Before she could try to move away, he put his palms flat against the wall around her.’
    2. 1.2 So as to become smooth and even:
      ‘I hammered the metal flat’
      • ‘Press crumb mixture into the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan, using waxed paper to press crumbs flat.’
      • ‘But there were no bottles in them, and when she had finished and was folding the bags flat, he cleared his throat.’
      • ‘He takes a slow deep breath, and smoothes flat a piece of paper.’
      • ‘Cover your sand form with sheets of wet newspaper to keep the mud walls from sticking to the sand form, smoothing the sheets flat.’
      • ‘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’
    • ‘In fact, as Kwan readies himself for the fight, dubbed May Day Mayhem, he is flat broke.’
    • ‘And, many times I'm flat broke because I also have to support my wife who is jobless.’
    • ‘They were flat broke, but the brothers still had some Marshall gear the label had bought for them.’
    • ‘So Lucas called Dad and Dad said he was flat broke and we'd have to get the money from Mum.’
    • ‘You'll either be turned down flat or you'll be charged a higher-than-usual interest rate.’
    • ‘He wanted to go south, but his van was unreliable and he was flat broke.’
    • ‘The price of this independence was that now, yet again, they were flat broke.’
    • ‘Their credibility is in shreds and they are flat broke, but they still have one very saleable asset - notoriety.’
    • ‘Eriksson has millions on deposit but in the bank of goodwill the guy is flat broke.’
    • ‘I made an enemy that day by turning him down flat.’
    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’
      • ‘The large chains also home deliver but not in 10 minutes flat.’
      • ‘She was at the house in 10 minutes flat.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘He is not happy because the new stadium is not being built in 10 minutes flat.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In five years flat, it has given the city a remarkable facelift.’
      • ‘Bookshops this Christmas are piled high with short novelty volumes knocked off by their authors in a couple of hours flat.’
      • ‘The art directors did a super job in four hours flat to convert the garage into the movie production office within the film.’
      • ‘Shot extensively in Bangkok and Thailand, the film was completed in 35 days flat.’
      • ‘It imploded and came crumbling down all around the grounds in 37 seconds flat.’
      • ‘A second site done shortly afterward was completed in two days flat, largely due to efficiencies gained in diverting the creek.’
      • ‘Even conversations with friends were completed in under 3 minutes flat.’
      • ‘I'd never have got that job done in two hours flat on my own.’
      • ‘He could completely clear the husk of a coconut in 34 seconds flat.’
      • ‘Soon I could knock off a set in about 20 minutes flat, including cleaning up.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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

  • 1[in singular] The flat part of something:

    ‘she placed the flat of her hand over her glass’
    • ‘Along the flat of the sword more patterns and words were inscribed.’
    • ‘On a big chopping board, smash the garlic cloves with the flat of a big knife.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I lashed out and caught the side of his helmet with the flat of my blade.’
    • ‘He was constantly hitting Adrian's side with the flat of his blade.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I grabbed it, and pressed the flat of the blade against my wrist.’
    • ‘Lay clove on cutting board and smash with the flat of a knife blade.’
    • ‘She stepped aside again and cracked him in the back of the head with the flat of her sheathed sword.’
    • ‘Luckily I knocked them out pretty good with the flat of my sword.’
    1. 1.1usually flats An area of low level ground, especially near water:
      ‘the shingle flats of the lake’
      • ‘I set the hook, stuffed the rod high and the fish moved off fast across the flats towards the deep water.’
      • ‘Many surface flows, supplied mainly from leaks in the ocean entry tubes, are also observed in the coastal flats near the ocean.’
      • ‘He explains that because of the unstable ground on the river flats, holes dug for the foundations kept caving in.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's used to patrol for trespassers, set up live firing targets and recover rounds from the sand and tidal flats.’
      • ‘Traditional places to try would be the sand flats in the area below the ferry and around Pimlico Island.’
      • ‘I reach a small flat and remove my pack, look down, and see Asia about 50 feet away.’
      • ‘I've been to mud flats where there's a six-foot difference between high tide and low tide.’
      • ‘This encourages clam spat to settle out in areas of the flats currently devoid of clam stocks.’
      • ‘Groupers, jacks and barracuda seek refuge in the wrecks, while large marble rays cruise the sandy flats.’
      • ‘They were scattered over a mile area and unreachable because of water channels in the flats.’
      • ‘Every degree of added warmth only whets the fishes' appetites and draws them nearer to the flats.’
    2. 1.2North American A shallow container in which seedlings are grown and sold.
      • ‘The soil was watered daily and the flats monitored weekly for germinated seeds until 1 June 1993.’
      • ‘Most plants can be set slightly deeper than they were growing in the germination flat.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I bought a full flat of tomatoes and half a flat of peppers.’
      • ‘A few weeks later, Gavin returned with a flat of castor bean seedlings.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Seven grams of fertilizer were applied once every two weeks to each flat and all seedlings were maintained in the greenhouse.’
      • ‘A flat or large pot is filled with soil and the seed sprinkled thickly over the top.’
    3. 1.3 A shoe with a very low heel or no heel:
      ‘she wore black leggings, a white strapless dress, and a pair of electric blue flats’
      • ‘A moccasin is the must-have shoe in a stylish high-heel or casual flat.’
      • ‘For years, the ballerina flat was the shoe of choice to wear with cropped pants.’
      • ‘There's nothing quite like a pretty pair of flats to top off any casual outfit.’
      • ‘Try a ballerina flat, or an open mule with a smartly shaped heel.’
      • ‘I simply adore these polka dot flats and platforms.’
      • ‘In the end, I settled for this pair of flats (in cream & black) from Top Shop.’
      • ‘Flats are great with a mini skirt or dress but when it comes to heels, the higher the better!’
      • ‘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.

    • ‘The set - lots of slatted flats - keeps moving around a lot, without ever looking different.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘You open and close the curtain, set up the flats and backdrops, and check to make sure that everything is going right backstage.’
  • 3North American informal A flat tyre:

    ‘I've got a flat—there were nails under the wheel’
    • ‘Coupled with my broken chain and another rider's flat, it definitely put a crimp in our mileage.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Before they can confirm any details, the car gets a flat.’
    • ‘Late in the afternoon, when he hadn't returned, she worried he'd had a flat.’
    • ‘Negotiating a bike downhill, through a peloton, with a front flat at over 65 kph is not good.’
    • ‘When emerging from the club, my back tire got a flat.’
    • ‘You don't want to be the idiot who makes the whole ride stop for 20 minutes while you fix a flat.’
    • ‘As far as repairing a flat on the road, we haven't yet finalized how riders will be able to achieve this.’
    • ‘And usually when one tire blows out, the tire adjacent to the flat can blowout easily from the increased pressure.’
    • ‘If there's too much camber on one side of a tire, overwear is imminent, and so is a flat.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You always have a light where you're looking-handy for fixing a flat or broken chain.’
    • ‘I remember Bob kept getting flats and we were out of spares, so we had to use the patch kit.’
  • 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On the Flat at Lingfield, Lady Bear has what could be her final career start, in the Littlewoods Bet Direct Fleur De Lys Stakes.’
    • ‘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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘By remembering a simple pattern one can determine the amount of sharps and flats in a major chord.’
    • ‘His scale organizes the notes into octaves, with sharps and flats in between.’
    1. 5.1 The sign ♭, indicating a flat.

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1North American Music
    usually as adjective flattedLower (a note) by a semitone:

    ‘‘blue’ harmony emphasizing the flatted third and seventh’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I saw that life was not like books at all, but more like headlines-barroom brawls, a blues song sung with flatted notes.’
    • ‘With its visceral tritones and flatted seconds, the band's sound revolved more around the riff than the song.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He perfected an air of modesty and if his jokes fell flat he had a comical line in self-deprecation.’
      • ‘He bantered amiably with the crowd, though some of his jokes fell flat.’
      • ‘The story is ridiculous, the characters are clichéd and stereotyped, and all the jokes fall flat.’
      • ‘I was afraid that all my jokes were falling flat.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some of the dialogue falls flat with some forced jokes, but overall the writing is clever enough to propel the movie.’
      • ‘However, the script fails him by falling flat in the moments where you expect the most to be delivered.’
      • ‘Some of the jokes fall flat, and I'm not sure how I feel about the tone of the ending.’
      • ‘I considered cheering her up with maybe a joke or something, but my jokes always fall flat.’
      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’
      • ‘The team had the smoothest possible path laid out at the World Cup yet still fell flat on their 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.’
      • ‘After all, the president falls flat on his face quite frequently, for reasons that nobody can adequately explain.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Thus began another day of me getting all excited, thinking everything was going well and then falling flat on my face once more.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • (as) flat as a pancake

    • Completely flat:

      ‘the land's as flat as a pancake’
      • ‘Britain's urban house market may be flat as a pancake, but out in the smarter shires, it's a tale of two very different sorts of properties.’
      • ‘The second set was as flat as a pancake for the first few games.’
      • ‘Stay away from gels, pomades and waxes that will leave your strands flat as a pancake.’
      • ‘Secured with collar and leash, he lay outside, flat as a pancake, four legs outstretched against a new element for him - sand - and under a stranger, more fearsome element - sky.’
      • ‘Here on the east coast of the USA, the coast is flat as a pancake.’
      • ‘Being as how the fens are flat as a pancake, and the cathedral is a very big building on top of a medium-sized hill, it's pretty visible.’
      • ‘A full 45 minutes' worth would crush you flat as a pancake.’
      • ‘Swindon has hills and the nearby Cotswolds and Marlborough Downs, while Cambridge is flat as a pancake.’
      • ‘Activity in the biggest eurozone economies remains as flat as a pancake.’
      • ‘Without it, the show would be as flat as a pancake.’
      flat, smooth, uniform, featureless, unbroken, undamaged, unwrinkled
      View synonyms
  • flat out

    • 1As fast or as hard as possible:

      ‘the whole team is working flat out to satisfy demand’
      • ‘We'll have a ten-strong team working flat out for four weeks from July.’
      • ‘The team is pushing flat out to stay on top against tough opposition.’
      • ‘The three main parties have been working flat out to get themselves into the best possible starting point for the weeks ahead.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Surgical teams worked flat out performing intricate grafts on the victims in the four operating theatres commandeered for the emergency.’
      • ‘They love their team and they go flat out for them.’
      • ‘To help with this, forensic teams have been working flat out to gather DNA and fingerprint evidence.’
      • ‘Maintenance and teaching staff worked flat out to make sure the school reopened as quickly as possible.’
      • ‘But, is it too much to expect both teams to go flat out to win?’
      • ‘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.’
    • 2Without hesitation or reservation:

      ‘she flat out said she didn't trust her fellow board members’
      ‘flat-out perjury’
      • ‘I attempted to figure out if any of her words had a hidden implication, but she spoke flat out.’
      • ‘He says flat out that he's not going to vote for the president's bill.’
      • ‘On the other hand, I flat out disagree with this.’
      • ‘You just flat out didn't like our vote.’
      • ‘There were whole stretches where he just flat out refused to guard him.’
      • ‘He has been totally objective and even flat out rejected some of the sample devices.’
      • ‘He was completely ignoring her, flat out, acting like an immature child.’
      • ‘You flat out lied to the entire world.’
      • ‘Alana told me flat out that she's voting for Jessica.’
      • ‘Hannah stared at him, wondering if he really was just flat out crazy.’
      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
      at full speed, as fast as possible, post-haste, at full tilt, at breakneck speed, full steam ahead
      hell for leather, hammer and tongs, like crazy, like mad, like a bat out of hell, at a lick, like the wind, like a bomb, like greased lightning
      like billy-o, like the clappers, at a rate of knots
      View synonyms
    • 3Lying stretched out, especially asleep or in a state of exhaustion:

      ‘he lay flat out, breathing heavily’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A clash of heads left one player lying flat out on the pitch.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Creeping over to see if she was all right he found her lying flat out on her back.’
      • ‘Everywhere I look, lads are perched on the edge of the pavement; or stretched flat out on it; or slumped against walls, absently texting.’
      • ‘Spread out on a fluffy blue mat and surrounded by squeaky toys is an extremely cute one-year-old, flat out asleep.’
      • ‘I rushed outside and she was laid flat out with blood pouring from her right ear.’
      • ‘The ex-chief of command was lying flat out on the small bunk, eyes boring a hole into the ceiling.’
  • 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’
      • ‘I don't know why the rest of my colleagues didn't say something to me because I was talking flat tack.’
      • ‘Staff had been "flat tack" all day and had been called to about five electrical fires caused by fallen power lines.’
      • ‘Her oar must have caught a little wave and rolled the boat straight over because they were going flat tack.’
      • ‘The rumour mill is going flat stick about him not lasting the distance this election.’
      • ‘The youngster had been flat stick, working shifts at a radio station, working in his uncle's shop, and even cleaning cars.’
  • on the flat

    • 1On level ground as opposed to uphill:

      ‘the car wouldn't go uphill or overtake on the flat’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Tackling a slight incline soon has you dropping out of fifth but on the flat the extra ratio reduces noise levels and helps economy.’
      1. 1.1(of a horse race) on an open course as opposed to one with jumps.
        • ‘He began training 48 years ago and has had success both on the Flat and over jumps, training over 2,000 winners.’
        • ‘The gelding, a decent handicapper on the Flat, has run two respectable races over hurdles this season.’
        • ‘Many jump jockeys start on the Flat, and move over when their weight becomes too much to shed in the sauna.’
        • ‘You need to have good horses to compete on the Flat and the ones I get are not up to that standard.’
        • ‘His remarkable record embraced no fewer than 37 victories - 21 on the Flat and 16 over jumps from 85 races under both codes.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘An ordinary horse on the Flat would have to win five or six races a season to cover his training fees.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
  • 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A disabled resident of a block of council flats constantly attacked by arsonists has called for the building to be demolished.’
    • ‘A campaign has started by residents to stop plans for a three-storey block of flats in the garden of an empty house.’
    • ‘There are around 120 flats in the tower block, with six flats on each floor.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The development will offer parking space in the basement, commercial facilities on the ground floor, and residential flats on floors one to nine.’
    • ‘A brave neighbour ran into a smoke-logged block of flats to wake residents after one of the apartments caught fire.’
    • ‘The majority of the residents of the flats and bungalows are elderly.’
    • ‘This spurred construction of apartment buildings with several flats per floor.’
    • ‘Residents in flats and homes in the town centre are also being urged to join the scheme.’
    • ‘The developer wants to convert the 100-year-old building into eight flats, two town houses and two starter homes.’
    • ‘Residents of four flats in the terraced building above the centre were safely evacuated but the animals were not so fortunate.’
    • ‘Residents in blocks of flats had begun to club together to buy generators.’
    • ‘In contrast, most British residential blocks of flats were built by local authorities in the 1950s - 70s.’
    • ‘Future years will see 23-storey office blocks, supermarkets, arts buildings, more flats and housing.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Under the plans, the pub would be demolished and a three-storey building housing the flats would be built.’
    • ‘These range from one bed room flats to five bedroom houses, with 44 affordable homes and 30 low cost starter homes.’
    apartment, set of rooms, penthouse, home, residence, accommodation
    rooms, living quarters, quarters
    home unit
    pad, digs
    crib
    View synonyms

verb

[NO OBJECT]Australian, NZ
  • Live in or share a flat:

    ‘Zoë flats 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.’
    • ‘I flatted 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.’

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’
      • ‘Reading the first two articles in this series reminded me of some of the crazy things that happened when I first went flatting.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’

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/