Main definitions of flat in English

: flat1flat2

flat1

adjective

  • 1Smooth and even; without marked lumps or indentations.

    ‘a flat wall’
    ‘trim the surface of the cake to make it completely flat’
    • ‘The animals have long sharp canines and broad flat molars that grind shells.’
    • ‘Once the soil is ready, he tamps the beds with a sheet of plywood so the soil is firm and flat.’
    • ‘The television has a perfectly flat plasma display screen.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They made their way to a large cliff where a big rock sat at the end with a flat surface.’
    • ‘They have to be level, flat and firmly secured to the picture and the wall.’
    • ‘The stern was dominated by a flat expanse of steel - the helicopter deck.’
    • ‘The recommendation now is to use solid black plastic under a mulch on relatively flat surfaces.’
    • ‘Then, at last, it was full steam ahead - along a broad, flat, gravel track.’
    • ‘Apparently the five rear seats do come out to leave a flat load area but the process is simply too much like hard work.’
    • ‘The backrest folds in an uncomplicated fashion to create a roomy and flat load area.’
    • ‘"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.’
    • ‘Temporarily prop up the two end trusses on a level, flat surface.’
    • ‘Put stones in the narrow area and use flat rocks on top of them.’
    • ‘The park, at the rear of the Memorial Hall car park, was opened earlier this year as an area of flat hard surface.’
    • ‘Water simply passes out from the wall, falls against a flat surface and trickles into a surrounding moat.’
    • ‘This makes both surfaces as flat and even as possible, to allow for the maximum amount of contact.’
    • ‘She said all that was needed was a flat tarmacademed area.’
    • ‘Last year a ten-metre area of flat tarmacadam-type surface was laid down at a cost of around £4,000.’
    level, horizontal, levelled
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of land) without hills.
      ‘thirty-five acres of flat countryside’
      • ‘The city sits on high, flat plains 12 miles east of the Rockies.’
      • ‘The terrain is relatively flat, with good cycle and footpath connections to adjacent suburbs.’
      • ‘He was standing on a flat desert plain under white clouds and blue sky.’
      • ‘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 bright, flat landscape filled her view, radiant with heat.’
      • ‘A fruit and vegetable farm was located on the flat plains of Western Kansas.’
      • ‘In contrast, the western half of the route is nearly flat and offers long, expansive views across large sweeps of farmland.’
      • ‘Because of the flat terrain, a bicycle is the best form of transportation to use in the city.’
      • ‘The surrounding land is flat and open farmland surrounded by forest.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘We drive through flat wastelands of scrub and dust.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The terrain was flat and unspectacular.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Flanders, in contrast, is a land of flat country and few hills.’
      • ‘Except for mountain chains in the north and west along the Norwegian border, the land is relatively flat.’
    2. 1.2 (of an expanse of water) calm and without waves.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 air was hot, stale and oppressive, the sea as flat and lifeless as some dead thing.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To the south the flat expanse of Lake Dokan shone greasily in the low evening light like fish scales.’
      • ‘Lights from a large cargo ship reflected on the flat, still water.’
      calm, still, tranquil, pacific, undisturbed, without waves, like a millpond
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 Not sloping.
      ‘the flat roof of a garage’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Withdrawing from the edge, I ducked under the rafter of the flat roof.’
      • ‘Combining the three spaces involved more than removing walls and raising the kitchen's flat ceiling.’
      • ‘Snow lying on a flat field is fairly dormant, but snow lying on a slope is inherently alive, thanks to the pull of gravity.’
      • ‘Combined with replacement of the flat roof over the front of the building, it is estimated the essential repairs will cost £100,000.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘It stated that the stairwell tower should be reduced in height by removing the pitched roof and replacing it with a flat roof.’
      • ‘The flat roof in the girls toilet has fallen in so when it rains, it is flooded.’
      • ‘The huts had flat roofs; some even had things on top of them.’
      • ‘Insulating your flat roof would be a fairly basic DIY job.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 burglars used a nearby ladder to climb onto a flat roof before forcing open a window.’
      • ‘The nursery building, which was converted in the 1980s, has a flat roof that first started leaking last year.’
      • ‘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 roofs that leak need to be replaced, as do the heating system and the windows.’
      • ‘The city has rebuilt the flat roofs of about 2,500 houses since 2000.’
      • ‘The double-height section between the elevated bedrooms is covered with a flat glass 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’
      • ‘I could walk it - and wouldn't even need my flat cap and plastic mac.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Most men covered their heads with flat wool caps or skullcaps or turbans in a variety of sizes and colours.’
      • ‘Approximately 25 cm long, the animal has a flat tail surrounded by a skin-like fin which is used for swimming.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Apparently he left the venue wearing a flat cap.’
      • ‘The guitarist looks like an accountant, the drummer stands up behind his kit to play whilst wearing 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 tube has a flat, wide cap and is meant to be stored upright.’
      • ‘Outside the grand clubhouse, you almost expect chaps to be wandering around in plus-fours and flat caps.’
      • ‘Once outside, Cordelia pulled out a flat aqua cellphone, the size of a playing card when it was closed.’
      • ‘She produced a flat black box, a little smaller than a directory.’
      • ‘He is the old bloke with the flat cap and the transistor radio, isn't he?’
      • ‘The guy with the flat cap and hearing aid was standing in the door.’
      • ‘His flat cap and round rimmed glasses are his trademark.’
      • ‘So I'm standing on the platform, and I see an older guy, in quite a distinctive flat cap.’
      • ‘People used to think the earth was flat and the universe revolved around it.’
      • ‘Connor, resplendent in blue overcoat and black flat cap, hardly stood still.’
      • ‘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.’
      shallow, not deep, wide
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5 (of the foot) having an arch that is lower than usual.
      • ‘You may have noticed your child's feet were flat when you saw his or her footprints in sand or if your child walked on a flat surface with wet feet.’
      • ‘Most babies are born with feet that are flat, and arches grow as the child grows.’
      • ‘I had flat feet and could hardly touch my toes.’
      • ‘He also learned that he had a tilted pelvis and flat feet, which contributed to his joint problems.’
      • ‘I've got low arches - they're not flat, but the truth is that I have no arches to speak of.’
      • ‘In some cases, hypermobility can lead to hernias, varicose veins, flat arched feet, foot ache or backache.’
    6. 1.6 (of shoes) without heels or with very low heels.
      • ‘Although flat shoes are better for your feet because they reduce the risk of lateral ankle sprains, they also bring their own problems.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I wear flat shoes for walking to work but otherwise it's high heels.’
      • ‘The girl was dressed in a very long black coat and wearing a pair of white flat sandals.’
      • ‘An itsy-bitsy kitten heel keeps the flat shoe feeling, but give some extra lift to your step.’
      • ‘If high heels are too uncomfortable, why not just wear flat shoes?’
      • ‘She scraped her flat shoes across the ground to dislodge any stale mud and walked to the centre of the alley.’
      • ‘How is it that flat shoes hurt more than high heels?’
      • ‘There are theories that men sprinting in flat shoes get out faster than women hampered by heels or waiting to help a colleague.’
      • ‘While you can get away with flat shoes during summer, opt for a slight heel for the colder months.’
      • ‘The women of New York are wearing flat sandals - and looking stunning.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She walked on down the passageway, her soft flat shoes making no sound.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Swap your sensible flat shoes for heels, add a glittery scarf and statement jewellery.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 interest or emotion; dull and lifeless.

    ‘“I'm sorry,” he said, in a flat voice’
    ‘her drawings were flat and unimaginative’
    • ‘The fact that Cosmos is such a classic tune makes this dull, flat rendition even more of an affront.’
    • ‘His voice was flat, void of any emotion, which led Anna to wonder if he felt anything at all about his father.’
    • ‘My voice was flat and expressionless, edged with steel and contempt for my enemy.’
    • ‘Autumn's voice was flat, almost monotonous, but it was not uncaring.’
    • ‘Her voice was flat and emotionless as she shut her eyes again, feeling cool hands and then a damp cloth on her forehead.’
    • ‘She replied in a flat voice, only putting emotion into certain words.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘My speaking voice is rather flat, but my singing voice is good.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This Court production looks gorgeous - the costumes and set are stunning - but feels strangely flat and lifeless.’
    • ‘When he did at last speak, his voice was just as flat and emotionless as his eyes.’
    • ‘With no special effects the soundtrack does what it needs to do, although to be honest, it sometimes sounded rather flat and dull.’
    • ‘Finally he spoke in a forced casual tone, causing her to turn, making his voice as flat and uninterested as possible.’
    • ‘His speech, delivered without notes, struck observers as both compassionate and professional - while the older man was dull and flat.’
    • ‘Dana's feminine voice grew quite flat and emotionless, and even a little haunting.’
    • ‘I have never seen a film where everybody is so uniformly flat.’
    • ‘That description was far too flat and emotionless and pain-free.’
    • ‘Her voice is flat, with a halfhearted hitch and no emotional delivery.’
    • ‘Her voice was flat and emotionless and Ryder wanted to kick himself for making her sound like that.’
    monotonous, toneless, droning, boring, dull, tedious, uninteresting, unexciting, soporific
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 (of a person) without energy; dispirited.
      ‘his sense of intoxication wore off until he felt flat and weary’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I was feeling a little flat after the no cool down, no food, and beer combo of the night before.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His voice was still slightly flat though Elizabeth could tell he really did like Sam.’
      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 a market, prices, etc.) showing little activity; sluggish.
      ‘cash flow was flat at $214 million’
      ‘flat sales in the drinks industry’
      • ‘While overall world oil demand was essentially flat in 1993, demand in the Western Pacific rose four percent.’
      • ‘Even so, its new forecast of flat prices looks plausible and matches my view.’
      • ‘Here in Australia, retail sales are already flat, apparently because consumers are avoiding using their cars and staying at home.’
      • ‘Locally, hiring is expected to remain virtually flat this year.’
      • ‘The shop's optimism is set against other major retailers' expectations for flat trading next year.’
      • ‘Overall sales have been flat for five years.’
      • ‘Its sales were relatively flat in 2001, due in part to lower gasoline prices affecting its stores with fuel pumps.’
      • ‘Consumer demand is flat and business bankruptcies are rising.’
      • ‘At many companies sales are flat or down - sometimes way, way down.’
      • ‘The overall level of crime is flat and shows the impact the Safer Neighbourhood Teams are having on low-level crime such as shoplifting.’
      • ‘The group said that despite higher volumes, the Republic of Ireland's trading profits were broadly flat in a pretty buoyant market.’
      • ‘Even in years when economic growth is flat or negative, electricity consumption nearly always increases.’
      • ‘Wage growth was essentially flat over the past year.’
      • ‘Following two months of flat sales, retail spending rose by 1.3 percent in October.’
      • ‘At least, flat prices or the absence of inflation is a darn good thing for consumers.’
      • ‘Consumer spending may not look too resilient, given the flat performance of retail sales in October.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The company has been in a prolonged slump, with flat sales in the United States and a stock price to match.’
      • ‘Then, late last year, sales were nearly flat and actually declined in some categories.’
      slow, inactive, sluggish, slow-moving, slack, quiet, not busy, depressed, stagnant, static, dead, unproductive
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    3. 2.3 (of a sparkling drink) having lost its effervescence.
      ‘flat champagne’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He took his now flat soda from his jacket and walked into the study to await Monica.’
      • ‘Melvin waved hello to her, as he sat at the table with Bill, eating cold pizza and drinking flat soda.’
      • ‘If your steak is bad or the beer is flat, you return it.’
      • ‘She emailed me to say that they're to keep the drink from going flat.’
      • ‘It is shockingly sweet at first - a fizzy drink gone flat in the sun.’
      • ‘Another night of flat champagne, limp canapés and unfamiliar faces?’
      • ‘As saccharine as flat cola, it had an added taste of musky, dusky fruit and a hint of molasses.’
      • ‘Some people make a big fuss about this stuff, which tastes like flat soda pop to me.’
      still, dead, no longer effervescent
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    4. 2.4 (of something kept inflated, especially a tire) having lost some or all of its air, typically because of a puncture.
      ‘you've got a flat tire’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The accident expert would also investigate allegations that the bus had a flat tyre at the time of the accident.’
      • ‘He soon trades it for a mountain bike with a flat tyre and a modest handful of small gold coins.’
      • ‘In this case, the only damage caused to the civilian was a flat tyre.’
      • ‘When they reached the jeep, Abby noticed that she had a flat tire.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The first warning came when I first grabbed my bike. My back tire was completely flat.’
      • ‘A woman had been driving down a freeway, and had had a flat tyre.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘Only a flat tyre cost them an even better result.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A youngster was left in tears after his bike was snatched as he fixed a flat tyre.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You would not run your car with a flat tyre for twelve months without expecting further damage than the burst tyre.’
      • ‘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.’
      deflated, punctured, burst, collapsed, blown out, ruptured, pierced, empty of air, decompressed, depressurized
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    5. 2.5 (of a color) uniform.
      ‘the dress was a deadly, flat shade of gray’
      • ‘He used bold, poster-like contrasts of form and colour, with strong black outlines and extensive areas of flat, uniform colour.’
      • ‘Francis Towne was a landscape painter whose idiosyncratic style relied on economic and careful pen outlines and flat muted washes of colour.’
      • ‘His style is stark and angular, relying heavily on the use of flat colour and silhouettes.’
      • ‘The walls were more definite in their colour, more flat.’
      • ‘The textile is placed awkwardly on top of the table, creating areas of strong, flat colour and signalling Matisse's future as a painter.’
      • ‘Two other monitors off to one side emit changing flat colours from their screens, and a dull but insistent techno-type soundtrack.’
      • ‘You sort of notice perspective and lines and flat planes of colour.’
      • ‘It was different than other tattoos in the fact that it was in metallic gold, most were done in dull flat colours.’
      • ‘Time passed and the light outside remained the same flat grey as snow kept falling, icing the windows over.’
      • ‘There are other panels with flat planes of tertiary colour, some with simple linear designs.’
    6. 2.6 (of a photographic print or negative) lacking contrast.
      • ‘Blasting the subject with a sea of light produces flat, wishy-washy photographs.’
      • ‘This photograph was flat, with very little contrast and some noticeable scratches, dust spots, pen marks and other discolorations.’
      • ‘I have some flat negatives that really need a tonal boost.’
    7. 2.7US (of paint) without gloss; matte.
      • ‘It needs to be a flat paint, which will also function as a primer, in the event I want to come back later and add a glossy finish layer on top.’
      • ‘If there is flat finish paint on the walls you are papering, sizing makes the wallpaper hanging easier.’
      • ‘Apply one coat of flat latex paint to the item you have chosen to finish.’
      • ‘Kate prefers them unpainted, and has made a feature of them instead of covering them with flat paint.’
      • ‘Gloss or semi-gloss enamels are less likely to be damaged by cleaning than are most flat latex paints.’
      • ‘Metallics are also fashionable, and Smith says they can look highly effective next to flat matte.’
      • ‘The woodwork is probably a gloss or semi-gloss and the walls and ceiling a flat paint.’
      • ‘If you plan on doing anything more than just painting it flat white, prefinishing is recommended.’
      • ‘Put on two coats of flat interior paint in a favorite shade of light blue, letting dry completely between coats.’
  • 3[attributive] (of a fee, wage, or price) the same in all cases, not varying with changed conditions or in particular cases.

    ‘a $30 flat fare’
    See also flat rate
    • ‘Only two ministers opposed the Labour Cabinet's proposal for a flat income tax in December 1987.’
    • ‘Revenue growth in its core publishing business was flat last year.’
    • ‘He or she will often charge you a flat fee or an hourly rate.’
    • ‘The centrepiece of the reforms is the introduction of a flat income tax rate of 20 percent and the dismantling of social services.’
    • ‘Bank of Ireland offers a service whereby customers can have 90 transactions in return for a flat fee of £9 per quarter.’
    • ‘Aidan O'Hogan said that he would caution against the introduction of flat fees.’
    • ‘Many online brokers now charge a flat fee of around £10 per trade.’
    • ‘Brokers get a flat commission, plus a smaller annual commission, called a trail.’
    • ‘It also pointed out that solicitors receive a flat fee from legal aid and stand to lose earnings if a case is adjourned.’
    • ‘Instead of taking a percentage cut of a bond's face value, some charge a flat fee.’
    • ‘There is also a flat fee of £35 payable to register property deeds with the Registry of Deeds.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘Once we'd agreed on a budget, she explained that she charged a flat fee for her services.’
    • ‘He cites as helpful such reforms as the launch of a flat income tax.’
    • ‘Most people are astonished how cheap flat fee access could be.’
    • ‘Future revenue would be harvested from a single-rate flat tax on wages or, better still, a stiff sales tax on consumption.’
    • ‘There's a flat fee, based on circulation, just to take advantage of the program.’
    • ‘The flat income tax was seen as a way to create fair taxation.’
    • ‘If you pay a flat commission rate, the plan will be worth €15,362 after tax at the end of ten years.’
    • ‘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.’
    fixed, set, regular, established, unchanging, unvarying, invariable, unfluctuating, consistent, constant, uniform, straight, hard and fast
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    1. 3.1 (of a denial, contradiction, or refusal) completely definite and firm; absolute.
      ‘his statement was a flat denial that he had misbehaved’
      • ‘He couldn't afford to take it, not as it currently stood, but a flat refusal would stiffen the old man's position.’
      • ‘Firstly, a flat rebuttal of another's opinion is not in itself a statement of fact, simply a disagreement in terms.’
      • ‘So when I brought this helmet home for him to try out, I expected a flat refusal.’
      • ‘Well, I know it came out like a flat denial, and I think one of the things I can do is clear it up.’
      • ‘Because the individual himself is at stake during the seduction, he cannot risk a flat refusal from the potential partner.’
      • ‘The flat denials at the start of the week changed instead to a promise of full co-operation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Amazingly, this sharp slowdown in consumer spending, though lasting for half a year, has been met with flat denial all around.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When I reached the desk, I got blank faces and flat refusals.’
      • ‘Perkins issued a flat denial that he had ever had anything to do with Duke, and he denounced him for good measure.’
      • ‘This provocative thesis elicits flat denials from both governments.’
      • ‘He reacted furiously to the news of the mutiny of the soldiers, rushing to the scene after their flat refusal to fight.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Media bias is not exclusive to Australia, nor is the flat denial of its existence by those who clearly display it.’
      • ‘On many occasions they have demanded information on the terms of the deal, but met with a flat refusal.’
      • ‘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
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  • 4(of musical sound) below true or normal pitch.

    • ‘The dialogue is often difficult to hear and the music sounds tinny and flat.’
    • ‘He finally gave in and belted out the limited lyrics from memory accompanied by flat notes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I thought the performance was great but the singing was flat.’
    1. 4.1[postpositive, in combination] (of a note) a semitone lower than a specified note.
      ‘the double basses' opening low E-flat’
      ‘you never have to change key from B-flat major’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Arranged for trumpet sextet and a continuo instrument (bassoon or euphonium are suggested), this piece can be performed in B-flat, C or D.’
      • ‘We played the Schubert B flat Trio and the Tchaikovsky.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 4.2 (of a key) having a flat or flats in the 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.’
      • ‘As with the sharp key signatures, there is an easy way to determine the key of a particular flat key signature.’
  • 5Relating to flat racing.

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

    ‘I'm turning you down flat’
    [as submodifier] ‘she was going to be flat broke in a couple of days’
    • ‘So Lucas called Dad and Dad said he was flat broke and we'd have to get the money from Mum.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In fact, as Kwan readies himself for the fight, dubbed May Day Mayhem, he is flat broke.’
    • ‘I made an enemy that day by turning him down flat.’
    • ‘You'll either be turned down flat or you'll be charged a higher-than-usual interest rate.’
    • ‘And, many times I'm flat broke because I also have to support my wife who is jobless.’
    • ‘Eriksson has millions on deposit but in the bank of goodwill the guy is flat broke.’
    • ‘He wanted to go south, but his van was unreliable and he was flat broke.’
    • ‘They were flat broke, but the brothers still had some Marshall gear the label had bought for them.’
    outright, directly, absolutely
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 After a phrase expressing a period 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 last leg, a distance of 70-odd km, was covered in six hours flat.’
      • ‘It imploded and came crumbling down all around the grounds in 37 seconds flat.’
      • ‘He is not happy because the new stadium is not being built in 10 minutes flat.’
      • ‘He could completely clear the husk of a coconut in 34 seconds 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 didn't stop me being ready in about 30 minutes flat, though.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A second site done shortly afterward was completed in two days flat, largely due to efficiencies gained in diverting the creek.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In five years flat, it has given the city a remarkable facelift.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The large chains also home deliver but not in 10 minutes 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.’
      • ‘Soon I could knock off a set in about 20 minutes flat, including cleaning up.’
      • ‘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

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

    ‘she placed the flat of her hand over her glass’
    • ‘He was constantly hitting Adrian's 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.’
    • ‘Lay clove on cutting board and smash with the flat of a knife blade.’
    • ‘Along the flat of the sword more patterns and words were inscribed.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As soon as their swords parted, he struck him in the side with the flat of his 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I lashed out and caught the side of his helmet with the flat of my blade.’
  • 2A flat object, in particular.

    1. 2.1often flats An upright section of painted stage scenery mounted on a frame.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The set - lots of slatted flats - keeps moving around a lot, without ever looking different.’
    2. 2.2North American informal A flat tire.
      • ‘Negotiating a bike downhill, through a peloton, with a front flat at over 65 kph is not good.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I remember Bob kept getting flats and we were out of spares, so we had to use the patch kit.’
      • ‘And usually when one tire blows out, the tire adjacent to the flat can blowout easily from the increased pressure.’
      • ‘As far as repairing a flat on the road, we haven't yet finalized how riders will be able to achieve this.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You always have a light where you're looking-handy for fixing a flat or broken chain.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If there's too much camber on one side of a tire, overwear is imminent, and so is a flat.’
      • ‘You don't want to be the idiot who makes the whole ride stop for 20 minutes while you fix a flat.’
      • ‘When emerging from the club, my back tire got a flat.’
      • ‘Before they can confirm any details, the car gets a flat.’
    3. 2.3North American A shallow container in which seedlings are grown and sold.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A few weeks later, Gavin returned with a flat of castor bean seedlings.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Most plants can be set slightly deeper than they were growing in the germination flat.’
      • ‘The soil was watered daily and the flats monitored weekly for germinated seeds until 1 June 1993.’
      • ‘I bought a full flat of tomatoes and half a flat of peppers.’
      • ‘To maintain moisture, slip the whole flat or pot into a clear plastic bag after the initial watering.’
      • ‘I finally reached the conclusion that the easiest way to get broccoli and cabbage seedlings started was to grow them in a small flat.’
      • ‘A flat or large pot is filled with soil and the seed sprinkled thickly over the top.’
    4. 2.4often flats A shoe with a very low heel or no heel.
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Another closet staple for last year and this year still, are flats.’
      • ‘For years, the ballerina flat was the shoe of choice to wear with cropped pants.’
    5. 2.5 A railroad car with a flat floor and no sides or roof; a flatcar.
  • 3usually flatsAn area of low level ground, especially near water.

    ‘the Utah salt flats’
    See also mudflat
    • ‘Traditional places to try would be the sand flats in the area below the ferry and around Pimlico Island.’
    • ‘I set the hook, stuffed the rod high and the fish moved off fast across the flats towards the deep water.’
    • ‘Every degree of added warmth only whets the fishes' appetites and draws them nearer to the flats.’
    • ‘This encourages clam spat to settle out in areas of the flats currently devoid of clam stocks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Groupers, jacks and barracuda seek refuge in the wrecks, while large marble rays cruise the sandy flats.’
    • ‘It's used to patrol for trespassers, set up live firing targets and recover rounds from the sand and tidal flats.’
  • 4A musical note lowered a semitone below natural pitch.

    • ‘The flats and sharps are placed on the printed page accordingly.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His scale organizes the notes into octaves, with sharps and flats in between.’
    • ‘Sharps and flats are introduced near the end of the book, but different key signatures are not discussed or used in Book 1.’
    1. 4.1 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’
    • ‘I saw that life was not like books at all, but more like headlines-barroom brawls, a blues song sung with flatted notes.’
    • ‘There is a lot of ‘bent pitch’ - momentary flatting or sharping of the main pitch - in these performances.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 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’
      • ‘He bantered amiably with the crowd, though some of his jokes fell flat.’
      • ‘I considered cheering her up with maybe a joke or something, but my jokes always fall flat.’
      • ‘Some of the jokes fall flat, and I'm not sure how I feel about the tone of the ending.’
      • ‘However, the script fails him by falling flat in the moments where you expect the most to be delivered.’
      • ‘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 was afraid that all my jokes were falling 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.’
      • ‘The story is ridiculous, the characters are clichéd and stereotyped, and all the jokes fall flat.’
      • ‘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.’
      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

    • 1Fall over forward.

      • ‘I tiptoed over to hand it to him, but I tripped on a cord and fell flat on my face.’
      • ‘Julian chose that exact moment to move forward and wave to Mike, causing me to almost fall flat on my face.’
      • ‘I knocked the first hurdle over and fell flat on my face.’
      • ‘As I ran back to the bleachers, I fell flat on my face.’
      • ‘As they approached the summit, a young corporal stumbled and fell flat on his face.’
      • ‘One Halloween, I was trick-or-treating without a flashlight, walking across a yard, I felt my foot slip into a hole and fell flat on my face onto slimy, wet grass!’
      • ‘I feel myself leaning forward and fall flat on my face.’
      • ‘The bicyclist lost his balance and fell flat on his face.’
      • ‘She leans forward so far I'm surprised she doesn't fall flat on her face.’
      • ‘Once you get over the embarrassment of falling flat on your face in the middle of the gym, you'll need to take stock of possible injuries and determine what to do next.’
      1. 1.1Fail in an embarrassingly obvious way.
        ‘the president could fall flat on his face if the economy doesn't start improving soon’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Thus began another day of me getting all excited, thinking everything was going well and then falling flat on my face once more.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘The team had the smoothest possible path laid out at the World Cup yet still fell flat on their face.’
        • ‘After all, the president falls flat on his face quite frequently, for reasons that nobody can adequately explain.’
  • (as) flat as a pancake

    • Completely flat.

      • ‘Stay away from gels, pomades and waxes that will leave your strands flat as a pancake.’
      • ‘Swindon has hills and the nearby Cotswolds and Marlborough Downs, while Cambridge is flat as a pancake.’
      • ‘The second set was as flat as a pancake for the first few games.’
      • ‘A full 45 minutes' worth would crush you flat as a pancake.’
      • ‘Here on the east coast of the USA, the coast is 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.’
      • ‘Activity in the biggest eurozone economies remains as 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.’
      • ‘Without it, the show would be as 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.’
      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’
      ‘the album lacks the flat-out urgency of its predecessor’
      • ‘Surgical teams worked flat out performing intricate grafts on the victims in the four operating theatres commandeered for the emergency.’
      • ‘The three main parties have been working flat out to get themselves into the best possible starting point for the weeks ahead.’
      • ‘The team is pushing flat out to stay on top against tough opposition.’
      • ‘Maintenance and teaching staff worked flat out to make sure the school reopened as quickly as possible.’
      • ‘We'll have a ten-strong team working flat out for four weeks from July.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But, is it too much to expect both teams to go flat out to win?’
    • 2Without hesitation or reservation; unequivocally.

      ‘in those early days I'd just flat out vote against foreign aid’
      ‘flat-out perjury’
      • ‘He was completely ignoring her, flat out, acting like an immature child.’
      • ‘He says flat out that he's not going to vote for the president's bill.’
      • ‘You flat out lied to the entire world.’
      • ‘He has been totally objective and even flat out rejected some of the sample devices.’
      • ‘On the other hand, I flat out disagree with this.’
      • ‘I attempted to figure out if any of her words had a hidden implication, but she spoke flat out.’
      • ‘There were whole stretches where he just flat out refused to guard him.’
      • ‘Hannah stared at him, wondering if he really was just flat out crazy.’
      • ‘You just flat out didn't like our vote.’
      • ‘Alana told me flat out that she's voting for Jessica.’
      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 completely stretched out, especially asleep or exhausted.

      ‘she was lying flat out on her pink bath towel’
      • ‘A friend drove him - lying flat out on the back seat of a Range Rover to avoid photographers - from the house in Didsbury.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A clash of heads left one player lying flat out on the pitch.’
      • ‘The ex-chief of command was lying flat out on the small bunk, eyes boring a hole into the ceiling.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Creeping over to see if she was all right he found her lying flat out on her back.’
      • ‘I rushed outside and she was laid flat out with blood pouring from her right ear.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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 go into a home 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; related to plant, platy-, plaza.

Pronunciation

flat

/flat/

Main definitions of flat in English

: flat1flat2

flat2

noun

  • British term for apartment
    • ‘A disabled resident of a block of council flats constantly attacked by arsonists has called for the building to be demolished.’
    • ‘There are around 120 flats in the tower block, with six flats on each floor.’
    • ‘Under the plans, the pub would be demolished and a three-storey building housing the flats would be built.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Residents in blocks of flats had begun to club together to buy generators.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This spurred construction of apartment buildings with several flats per floor.’
    • ‘Today these historical buildings house a mix of flats, maisonettes and townhouses, and one conversion has just come on the market.’
    • ‘These range from one bed room flats to five bedroom houses, with 44 affordable homes and 30 low cost starter homes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A campaign has started by residents to stop plans for a three-storey block of flats in the garden of an empty house.’
    • ‘Residents of four flats in the terraced building above the centre were safely evacuated but the animals were not so fortunate.’
    • ‘Residents in flats and homes in the town centre are also being urged to join the scheme.’
    • ‘Future years will see 23-storey office blocks, supermarkets, arts buildings, more flats and housing.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The building of flats and apartments alone will not solve the city's housing issue.’
    • ‘The development will offer parking space in the basement, commercial facilities on the ground floor, and residential flats on floors one to nine.’
    apartment, set of rooms, penthouse, home, residence, accommodation
    rooms, living quarters, quarters
    home unit
    pad, digs
    crib
    View synonyms

Origin

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

Pronunciation

flat

/flat/