Definition of flatten in English:



  • 1Make or become flat or flatter.

    with object ‘her hair had been flattened by the storm’
    no object ‘after Kendal, the countryside begins to flatten out’
    • ‘If your girlfriend has beautiful wavy hair, would you want her to flatten it out by combing it with the wrong brush?’
    • ‘One was suddenly flung away and the grass flattened in a widening circle.’
    • ‘She quickly brushed, combed, and flattened her hair.’
    • ‘She scowls and takes out her hairbrush and flattens her hair with quick, angry strokes.’
    • ‘And it just straightens her hair, flattens it out perfectly.’
    • ‘As children first introduced to the mysteries of the kitchen, we learn how to blend the batter of a cake or flatten the dough of a pie.’
    • ‘His regular spot was left empty, the grass he would normally flatten sitting upright and proud.’
    • ‘The rain pounded down on her, flattening the wild grasses and weeds around her.’
    • ‘Peter combed his dark brown hair, trying to flatten the back and sides, but as usual it remained up turned.’
    • ‘Look at that mutilated cow in the field, and see that flattened grass.’
    • ‘If I manage to dodge it, it will still flatten the grass and leave it's mark.’
    • ‘The heavy boots he wore had long ago flattened and grass he walked on, making a perfectly straight path where he had paced for the past few hours.’
    • ‘The foot and a half tall grass was flattened in their fight.’
    • ‘He attempted to flatten the hair without a comb.’
    • ‘I mutter a sheepish apology and get to my feet, smoothing my shirt and trying to flatten my hair.’
    • ‘He is not a land artist, he flattens no grass and makes no patterns with twigs or boulders.’
    • ‘Laurie folded his feet and sat down, flattening the grass.’
    • ‘Secondly, the mixture is then flattened out in the blending machine, and then it is flattened further in an extruder machine.’
    • ‘Turn over the cake and flatten slightly, before slashing the top three times with a sharp knife.’
    • ‘His normally very tidy light brown hair had flattened in some areas and began to stick out in others.’
    become flat, make flat, become even, make even, become smooth, make smooth, smooth, smooth off, smooth out, level, level off, level out, even out
    compress, press down, crush, squash, compact
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with object and adverbial of place Press (oneself or one's body) against a surface.
      ‘Guy flattened himself against the wall’
      • ‘The five-year old flattened himself against the wall, whimpering.’
      • ‘In her haste, she almost ran over a ship's lieutenant, who flattened himself against the doorway as she charged past him.’
      • ‘He flattened himself out on the floor and watched me.’
      • ‘Panting, he flattened himself against a mold-streaked stone wall, praying it would be just another sentry.’
      • ‘I flattened myself against the wall for dear life, and somehow, somehow, he never noticed me.’
      • ‘She flattened herself against the treetrunk and waited.’
      • ‘Thinking quickly, he flattened himself up against the wall next to the door, lying in wait.’
      • ‘I heard a step of foot steps and flattened myself further up against the wall, looking in front of me to where the person was coming from.’
      • ‘At the sound of a window opening on the second floor, above my head, a little to the right, I backed up and flattened myself against the door.’
      • ‘Shane flattened himself against the side of the bookshelf backing onto where the guard would approach from and waited.’
      • ‘In fact, Brittany completely flattened herself against the wall.’
      • ‘A group of children noisily pushed through the crowd, so Jag flattened himself against the wall to keep from getting squashed.’
      • ‘The four of them immediately flattened themselves against the wall.’
      • ‘She nodded at a pretty brunette and flattened herself against the wall.’
      • ‘Claria flattened herself against the wall, peering around a corner.’
      • ‘At once he made for a tree and flattened himself against its bark.’
      • ‘She winced and flattened herself more against the tree.’
      • ‘He has flattened himself violently against the wall, his knees bent in towards it, body shaking.’
      • ‘I recoiled, eyes wide open and flattened myself to the bed.’
      • ‘Nikki shrieked and flattened herself against the wall.’
  • 2with object Raze (a building or settlement) to the ground.

    ‘the entire town centre was flattened by the 500 lb bomb’
    • ‘The army has used its newly acquired firepower to flatten houses and other buildings, destroy coconut plantations and turn the city into a virtual ghost town.’
    • ‘Churches, mosques and school buildings are among the public facilities flattened by the quakes.’
    • ‘The storm, which also flattened several power pylons, left much of the Eastern Cape without electricity.’
    • ‘A business that is hit hard during a recession is not unlike a business whose building is flattened by a tornado.’
    • ‘The blast had destroyed the wall of the cemetery and flattened a nearby home.’
    • ‘Walls of houses were completely flattened; glass, bricks and debris are everywhere.’
    • ‘Just 12 minutes after the order, the bombs were dropped from an altitude of 20,000 ft, flattening the building.’
    • ‘These bombs vaporised all living life and flattened all buildings within the epicentre of the explosion.’
    • ‘Homes and public buildings were completely flattened.’
    • ‘Traders were triumphant today after plans to flatten their homes and businesses were refused by council planners.’
    • ‘A boat has managed to get to the south of the island but initial reports are that all the buildings are flattened.’
    • ‘Thousands of houses were completely flattened, and many others were partially destroyed.’
    • ‘It ripped off roofs, flattened buildings and threw container lorries great distances.’
    • ‘There were no immediate details of casualties on the ground but witnesses said 12 houses were flattened in the disaster.’
    • ‘But the torrent of brown water, which was already flattening buildings, wiped out the jeep, drowning her grandchildren.’
    • ‘Bulldozers could flatten buildings used to care for the elderly and disabled if a site near the town centre is sold off.’
    • ‘Workmen moved on to the site last week to flatten the building and replace it with 138 flats.’
    • ‘Hurricanes bring winds and slashing rains that flood streets, flatten homes, and leave survivors struggling to pick up the pieces.’
    • ‘The resulting explosion flattened the target building and the surrounding infrastructure, crushing the defenders.’
    • ‘Plans to flatten a listed building for a TV show have been branded ridiculous by the grandson of the man who built it.’
    demolish, raze, raze to the ground, level, tear down, knock down, destroy, wipe out, topple, wreck, reduce to ruins, devastate, annihilate, pulverize, obliterate, ravage, smash, wipe off the face of the earth, wipe off the map
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1informal Strike (someone) so as to make them fall down.
      ‘Flynn flattened him with a single punch’
      • ‘Kristie landed on him, flattening him against the floor.’
      • ‘He said: ‘The old guy looked in good shape and I'm sure he would have flattened the other guy - if he could have caught him.’’
      • ‘I woke up cold and he tried to roll his body onto me and share his body heat and the sleeping bag, nearly flattening me in the process.’
      • ‘The guy was very fortunate as the big man could have flattened him.’
      • ‘The purpose of modernisation is to flatten the pyramid, to push power downwards and re-enfranchise the rank-and-file.’
      • ‘Luckily for him the ambulance was not travelling very fast, because he gave the paramedic driving it so little warning time that had it been going any faster it would have certainly flattened Patrick.’
      • ‘A vision of me stepping on him, wobbling and then falling on him, flattening him like a pancake flashed through my head.’
      • ‘So there I was in the paddock when I'm flattened by some idiot running into me on a monkey bike!’
      • ‘In perhaps the turning point of the game, Steven Boyack flattened Dennis Wyness just inside the area in 18 minutes and Paul Sheerin powered in the penalty.’
      • ‘He also mowed over his wife on the same day Maude flattened the child.’
      • ‘I considered, with idle horror, how a simple kick of my foot could flatten him beyond repair.’
      • ‘Terrified I'd flatten a child, I picked my way between bodies, big and small, and noticed Sainabo cuddled up beside her mother.’
      • ‘The scrum-half must have suspected a conspiracy - on three occasions in the first half he was flattened by opponents.’
      • ‘The next minute, she was flattened by a reversing car, leaving her with broken arms and legs.’
      • ‘You were lucky Brett didn't end up flattening you.’
      • ‘I was about to wish for a rock to fall off the sky and flatten me into a very slow and painful death, when the doorbell rang.’
      • ‘The match exploded after a clash between Iain Hendry and Bromley's Mark Watson, who chased the Leatherhead man and flattened him, earning an instant red card.’
      • ‘When former St Peter's schoolboy, James Dougherty, led a lone break-out he was flattened by an excellent Heppleston tackle.’
      knock down, knock over, knock to the ground, knock off one's feet, fell, rugby-tackle, topple, prostrate
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2informal Defeat heavily in a contest.
      ‘they flattened Bridgend by forty-two points to fifteen’
      beat, conquer, win against, win a victory over, triumph over, prevail over, get the better of, best, worst, vanquish
      loss, beating, conquest, conquering, besting, worsting, vanquishing, vanquishment, game, set, and match
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3informal Humiliate or depress (someone)
      ‘the controversy has flattened everybody here’
      • ‘When, in my fifties, my wife left me I was flattened.’
      • ‘My friend The Teacher would always say that Sunday is a day that can flatten you if you're not feeling on top of the world.’
      humiliate, crush, quash, squash, deflate, subdue, humble, cow, chasten, bring down, bring low, take down a peg or two, mortify
      View synonyms
  • 3Music
    with object Lower (a note) in pitch by a semitone.

Phrasal Verbs

  • flatten out

    • 1(of an increasing quantity or rate) show a less marked rise; slow down.

      ‘over the last two years our sales increase has flattened out’
      • ‘However, this rate has flattened out in the past decade, although women's educational level continues to grow steadily.’
      • ‘The long ‘plateau’ period where this rise in prosecutions flattened out is more difficult to explain.’
      • ‘If you're a retailer, for example, the hosting bills will likely surge during the holiday season but then flatten out during slow months.’
      • ‘Both these trends have flattened out in recent years, with the rate increasing slightly in 1999 and 2000.’
      • ‘That asymptotic rise of the stock markets since WWII has flattened out.’
      • ‘We saw prices rise by about five or six per cent and the market flattened out a lot.’
      • ‘Despite an ongoing economic boom, Portland's housing cost increases flattened out after 1995, and now roughly match the rate of inflation.’
      • ‘Eating at shorter intervals will also help flatten out excessive rises and dips in your blood sugar, which means you'll have energy available for use more consistently.’
      • ‘There was, as a result, no financial and industrial bankruptcy, but growth rates flattened out for the rest of the period, until they were restarted by the outbreak of the First World War.’
      • ‘On the other hand, the survey report will point out that the recent fall in unemployment is slowing, effectively flattening out over the past three months.’
    • 2Make an aircraft fly horizontally after a dive or climb.

      ‘he flattened out and made a fine three-point landing’
      • ‘The Ju 88 went into a steep, jinking dive with the rear gunner firing at the other members of his Section who all attacked, until the Ju 88 flattened out and crash-landed at high speed.’
      • ‘People out fishing reported seeing the aircraft flying straight and level, then entering a spiral dive before flattening out momentarily.’