Definition of flatter in English:

flatter

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Lavish praise and compliments on (someone), often insincerely and with the aim of furthering one's own interests.

    ‘she was flattering him in order to avoid doing what he wanted’
    • ‘He then went on to flatter them further by complimenting their car parks.’
    • ‘Yet it is the Britons who Greene has good-naturedly fussed over and flattered this season, praising their potential and pointing out the danger they pose him in Sydney.’
    • ‘Yes, that possibility is something I wondered about when men flattered me with comments about being cute, sweet and sexy.’
    • ‘An assistant professor of creative writing at Columbia University told Time magazine that he flatters his students in order to guarantee favorable evaluations.’
    • ‘He flatters him to his face and steals from behind his back.’
    • ‘And he flatters the mother and she kind of gets prissy and he talks her into going for a ride in the sports car.’
    • ‘Alex told me that Benny tried to flatter Alex into appearing in porno movies.’
    • ‘He took interest in what I did, went out of his way to please me, flatter me, and just talk to me; he would truly listen to what I had to say.’
    • ‘Remember, when you compliment the trainee you also flatter the person who trained them.’
    • ‘He does not flatter me with compliments, which I know cannot be genuine.’
    • ‘Time to flatter her then, and get her back to at least friendship.’
    • ‘He managed the nobility by honouring and flattering them.’
    compliment, praise, commend, admire, express admiration for, pay tribute to, say nice things about
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Cause (someone) to feel honoured and pleased.
      with object and infinitive ‘I was very flattered to be given the commission’
      with object and clause ‘she felt flattered that he was confiding in her’
      • ‘There may also be an aspect of creative and spiritual growth for you here since you feel flattered to be chosen for this honour.’
      • ‘While he is flattered by such ongoing praise, he says he never tried to he a role model.’
      • ‘Nothing flattered her more than compliments for her cooking.’
      • ‘On the one hand I'm slightly flattered by the attention and pleased that the writing here is giving someone pleasure.’
      • ‘I thought about it, and I talked to a number of people, and I was very flattered that people were interested in talking to me in the first place.’
      • ‘Patrick was flattered and pleased that his old friends had elected to let him continue to play with them.’
      • ‘He said that he was honoured and very flattered to be chosen as the first recipient of the award.’
      • ‘But even so, I'm pleased and flattered, and very slightly embarrassed.’
      • ‘He should be at least a little flattered.’
      • ‘Sandra is unbelievably flattered by the little boy's compliment.’
      • ‘Hell, I'm too vain not to be flattered at least a little bit.’
      • ‘Admitting that he was flattered by the interest, Gerrard said: ‘I'll sit down at the end of the season and assess my future.’’
      • ‘When I review the list of past honorees and their truly impressive contributions, I am flattered and pleased to be among them.’
      • ‘It was a great honour, and I feel flattered to have been nominated.’
      • ‘On the other, she was flattered by his interest in whether or not she had a boyfriend.’
      • ‘He said it pleased him, and he was flattered not offended.’
      • ‘Well, Jack, I am still flattered that you, of all people, would be interested in hiring me.’
      • ‘Yet I knew he was pleased, flattered, captivated.’
      • ‘She says that in a society where the female image is so important, it's difficult for women not to be at least partially flattered by such attention.’
      • ‘Well, I'm sure they'll be flattered to hear your compliment and congratulations.’
      honour, gratify, please, give pleasure to, make someone glad, make someone pleased, delight, gladden
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2flatter oneself Choose to believe something favourable about oneself, typically when this belief is unfounded.
      ‘‘Don't flatter yourself! I wasn't doing it for your benefit!’’
      • ‘I'm not flattering myself with some deluded belief of self-importance, if things get out of hand (which probably/hopefully they will not) I'll be the one getting really upset.’
      • ‘I even flattered myself that I knew something about computer-assisted investigative reporting.’
      • ‘I went back thinking these were guys I had formed a great rapport with, and I realised that actually I was flattering myself.’
      • ‘Both the schools and the courts flatter themselves that their job is to change society.’
      • ‘Their findings suggest that many were flattering themselves in their self-reported profiles.’
      • ‘And we must never flatter ourselves that we can do that.’
      • ‘I flatter myself by thinking that some wayward janitor refuses to wash it off because he agrees with the sentiment.’
      • ‘I flatter myself as cultured, but I'm evidently a proper philistine.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, we can flatter ourselves that we're making democracy work.’
      • ‘I wrote back one sentence: Don't flatter yourself.’
    3. 1.3 Give an unrealistically favourable impression of.
      ‘the final scoreline flattered England’
      • ‘The scoreline flattered the opposition, who only entered Kendal's area twice in the first half and had few shots all game.’
      • ‘Television does the opposite - in its quest for their money, it relentlessly flatters children, presenting them as autonomous and wise.’
      • ‘This scoreline slightly flatters the winners as they only pulled away in the last ten minutes to win the game.’
      • ‘York dominated for long periods so much that the final scoreline flattered Leeds.’
      • ‘Tockwith made it five from five when they beat Rufforth 3-0 though the score-line slightly flattered them.’
      • ‘Parkville advanced in the Youths Shield, but were somewhat flattered by the final scoreline.’
      • ‘The scoreline actually flattered both sides, for this was not exactly the best advert for Premiership football.’
      • ‘The scoreline might have flattered the home side, but the visitors could have no complaints about the outcome.’
      • ‘A fluky opening score and a try right on the final hooter meant the scoreline flattered Batley in what was an evenly-contested match.’
      • ‘The final scoreline flattered Walsall after the visitors twice saw efforts denied by the goal frame.’
      • ‘Scotland coach Matt Williams said he was pleased with his team's performance but said the final scoreline flattered the Australians.’
      • ‘Indeed, the final scoreline perhaps flattered Leigh, or at least did a disservice to the effort of the York team.’
      • ‘I still believe that the scoreline flattered City.’
      • ‘In truth, the scoreline somewhat flattered the champions.’
      • ‘Yes, it wasn't a good result for us, although the final scoreline probably flattered them.’
      • ‘In the end, I thought the 3-1 final scoreline flattered them a bit, but everyone at the club - players and supporters - had a great day out.’
      • ‘Although this scoreline flattered the Seasiders, there was a fair chance that they could hold out for the next 34 minutes.’
      • ‘That interpretation flatters him, for he did no such thing.’
      • ‘Captain Suzie Muirhead says the scoreline flatters the Australians.’
      • ‘‘It sounds silly when it's five goals but the scoreline flattered Perth,’ insists Ferguson.’
    4. 1.4 (of a colour or a style of clothing) cause (someone) to appear to the best advantage.
      ‘the fuchsia shade flattered her pale skin’
      • ‘He knows what cut and colour suit him best - like pink, because it flatters his skin tone.’
      • ‘Choosing the right colour is also essential if you want to flatter your natural skin tone.’
      • ‘As a result, decide on some basic pieces of jewelry that will flatter all of your clothing and travel with those.’
      • ‘Television flatters men but makes women look fatter, according to research reported yesterday.’
      • ‘This shade of blue flatters almost any skin tone and is fiercely hot right now.’
      • ‘And I can't help but notice how the survival/fashion gear flatters her.’
      • ‘Layered shaggy styles flatter the pear shape face.’
      • ‘He did look awfully good; a slight beach tan definitely flattered his appearance.’
      • ‘When you really want to flatter your eyes, go for sheer, neutral shadow colors like beige or pale banana-yellow.’
      • ‘The empire line is back in vogue after several decades, but it has always been a great style to flatter any figure.’
      • ‘Allow your child to try on different clothing styles until she finds what flatters her or suits her personality.’
      • ‘There's something about that turned-up collar and the cinched in waist and the shape of a trench coat that flatters every single woman.’
      • ‘It's a good style because it flatters lots of hair and face types.’
      • ‘She was wearing a turquoise suit that flattered her dark complexion.’
      • ‘On the eyes choose shades that flatter your complexion, such as chocolate, rich brown, caramel and toast.’
      • ‘Try the following styles, proven to flatter your body type.’
      • ‘You made sure your hair was combed to perfection, you wore your best sweater (in the color that really flatters your eyes), and even made sure to match.’
      • ‘Choose a shape that flatters your figure and a colour that suits your skin, eyes and hair.’
      • ‘Take note of styles that flatter and fit your shape.’
      • ‘It's important to choose a dress style which will flatter everyone's figure.’
      suit, become, set off, show to advantage, enhance, look good on, look right on, be appropriate to, go well with, embellish, ornament, grace, befit
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5archaic Please (the ear or eye)
      ‘the beauty of the stone flattered the clergyman's eyes’
      • ‘Deftly edited, with a quickness of the hand that flatters the eye, the series has provided a slick, hip and credible makeover for an ancient art.’

Phrases

  • flatter to deceive

    • Appear promising but ultimately disappoint.

      • ‘But in truth, the domestic heavyweight division has often flattered to deceive.’
      • ‘He flatters to deceive, though, and it's too late for him to change now.’
      • ‘Instead, the opening exchanges flattered to deceive.’
      • ‘If ever an opening passage flattered to deceive, it was Leicester's first five minutes.’
      • ‘Although they currently occupy a respectable seventh place in the Celtic League it flatters to deceive.’
      • ‘It may have rear doors but they flatter to deceive: open one and it'll afford a view of one of the most miserably proportioned rear cabins in the class.’
      • ‘In their first season they flattered to deceive but in their second the regime started to bear fruit.’
      • ‘Such isolated examples of women rising to the top can flatter to deceive, however.’
      • ‘They flatter to deceive, luring innocents with sympathetic words and false promises.’
      • ‘Having flattered to deceive in their goalless league opener against Clyde, Coyle knew the importance of this win.’

Origin

Middle English: perhaps a back-formation from flattery.

Pronunciation

flatter

/ˈflatə/