Definition of flatness in US English:



  • 1The quality of having a level surface without raised areas or indentations.

    ‘the flatness of the external surface’
    ‘make sure that the paper is of uniform flatness’
    • ‘These impenetrable brambles both recede into space and hold the painting's surface, negotiating that double sense of depth and flatness, landscape and abstraction.’
    • ‘A perfect perspectival illusion of depth coexists with an effect of surface flatness which can suggest mosaic or marquetry.’
    • ‘The aluminum bands and rivets that comprise the work can only speak of the brushed surface or the inexorable flatness of the metal.’
    • ‘The form of the building recalls ancient Venetian palazzi, but it is treated in a more abstract fashion, with an emphasis on the flatness of the external surface.’
    • ‘Although his compositions retain the flatness of the computer screen, they are transformed into dynamic explorations of color and perception.’
    • ‘The implied stench is unrelieved by the exciting way that bright colors and a variety of textures clash with the photograph's flatness and glossy surface.’
    • ‘His subsequent freestanding sculptures compressed space into virtual flatness, with mass and volume only implied.’
    • ‘We see a surface which has the absolute embedded flatness of inlay, of tarsia.’
    • ‘And yet these tiles merely emphasize the flatness of the fronts, and their colors are rarely exploited.’
    • ‘The razor blade, can top, and shirtsleeve placed parallel to the picture plane reiterate its flatness, while depth is evoked by linear perspective.’
    1. 1.1 Lack of hills in a landscape.
      ‘the flatness of the desert stretched out uninterrupted for miles’
      ‘extensive areas of relative flatness’
      • ‘My geography is the laying out of a great flatness peopled with cairns.’
      • ‘This water isn't going to run off quickly because of the flatness of this area.’
      • ‘I hate its sterile landscape, its featureless flatness, its retail-and-business-park characterlessness.’
      • ‘Tess stood still upon the hemmed expanse of verdant flatness, like a fly on a billiard-table of indefinite length, and of no more consequence to the surroundings than that fly.’
      • ‘For him, the very flatness of the Midwest is heartening, with "no impediments to your horizon."’
      • ‘Long earth berms conceal cars and animate the pancake flatness of the suburban topography.’
      • ‘The long straightaway on 4th Ave, and its relative flatness, was great for keeping up my pace and momentum.’
      • ‘The flatness is what people refer to about the Midwest when they drive through from the mountain ranges, or the towering forests, or the canyons or the cliffs, or the lolling bluegrass hills.’
      • ‘It isn't named after the flatness of the land, but instead, was where the land was first cleared for development - meratakan, or rata, tanah - and was later called Tanah Rata by the constructors.’
      • ‘Having moved to the flatness of the piedmont, I have a great appreciation for the hills of Iowa.’
  • 2Lack of emotion or enthusiasm; dullness.

    ‘neither the editing nor the score do much to help the film's emotional flatness’
    ‘there's no escaping the flatness of the characters’
    • ‘Perhaps the performances are to blame for the material's flatness, but I believe there's little that could be done with this material.’
    • ‘As bad as the acting is, it's no match for the flatness the director achieves.’
    • ‘His performance speaks to both the honesty of the episode discussions and the flatness of this episode.’
    • ‘A quick frisson marks the transition from the warm, languid flatness of late summer to the sharp chill of autumn.’
    • ‘What discourages one in this director is the flatness and superficiality of his projects from the heart.’
    • ‘The others onstage, striving for high-energy precision, had a paper-doll flatness and zero affect.’
    • ‘There is a noticeable flatness to the character that makes it hard to understand what he might be running from.’
    • ‘My favorite scenes come when the film's comic energy is allowed to outrun its carefully maintained arty flatness.’
    • ‘No amount of Oscar credibility, or acting chops, can lift these characters from their cardboard flatness.’
    • ‘He has applied this avant-garde sensibility to an exploration of social and political issues, giving his experimental forms the unadorned flatness of naturalist filmmaking.’
    1. 2.1 Lack of activity of trade, prices, etc.; sluggishness.
      ‘investors seem content with progress, despite the flatness of revenue and profits’
      • ‘He says the flatness of sour cream sales in recent years is a direct result of consumers cooking less at home.’
      • ‘He backs a further round of quantitative easing, saying it would be sensible given the flatness of growth.’
      • ‘And that's been how we've recovered in the antenna space despite the continuing decline or flatness in public safety.’
      • ‘The centerlessness, the irrelevance of geography, the economic flatness—if you can't grasp that structure, how can you lead the people who live and work in it?’
      • ‘With the farm economy in a sustained state of flatness, we explained how each piece of equipment could be analyzed for cost effectiveness.’
      • ‘I was astonished at the flatness of the big economy speech he gave—a speech that was billed as the start of a new campaign focus on economic issues.’
      • ‘But it's my expectation that we're going to see, at this point, some flatness and more seasonal trends occurring.’
      • ‘It's certainly one of the options and would, given the flatness of the economy, be a sensible thing to do.’
      • ‘Furthermore, he bemoaned the fact that the stale economy has caused "a kind of flatness in the business."’
      • ‘Political dominance by one party would affect policy with regard to government spending, economic equity, and the flatness of the tax system.’
  • 3Loss of effervescence in a sparkling drink.

    • ‘If this gas is used on carbonated beers, it will result in flatness and waste.’
    • ‘The head would make it seem that the beer is over-carbonated, but the flatness of the beer makes it seem like it's under-carbonated.’
    • ‘Hard cider is attractive to those who appreciate the carbonated zing of beer compared to the relative flatness of wine.’
    • ‘It's a 32-ounce insulated bottle designed to rid a beverage of heat and flatness.’
    • ‘The beer ice cubes totally lose their carbonation, but the flatness isn't really noticeable.’
    • ‘Less air means fewer hisses and less flatness.’
    • ‘I was thinking of opening one and timing it until it reached the correct level of flatness, then applying that to the rest of the batch.’
    • ‘The soda's flatness was magnified by the rum, as was the sweetness.’
    • ‘How do you determine the flatness of a carbonated drink?’
    • ‘Perhaps one way to quantify flatness would be to do pH tests.’
    1. 3.1 Loss of air in something inflated, such as a tire.
      • ‘The mechanism that inflation provides that drives the universe towards flatness will in almost all cases overshoot.’
      • ‘Two center seams aid in better maintaining pouch shape and flatness.’
      • ‘The strange flatness of the balloon and pretty poor background were done on purpose.’
      • ‘We can describe the earth's transition from flatness to roundness and allow that it may change again.’
      • ‘If storing a bicycle, you should hang it off the floor, otherwise the rubber perishes and retains the flatness regardless of how hard you pump the tires up.’
      • ‘I drove down the hill with some serious tire flatness against the left rock face.’
      • ‘And then I say to father, "How fortunate for us the flatness of the tires?"’
      • ‘Took it to the tire shop to have it repaired, and the guy said the cause of the severe flatness was a nail.’
      • ‘When the measurements were carried out, no change from flatness was discovered.’
      • ‘The flatness at the cross-section is defined by the rate of the maximum width of the sac.’
    2. 3.2British The condition of a battery having exhausted its charge.
      • ‘All was well for over a week when, heading out one morning, the ignition click of total flatness again.’
      • ‘Don had left the ignition on just a bit overnight and was concerned about the flatness of the battery.’
      • ‘A combination of the extreme level of the battery's flatness and the cheapness of our jumper cables means that it is about a half hour before the battery has enough charge to turn over.’
      • ‘He obviously wanted to say something crude about the flatness of the battery.’
      • ‘If you run out of juice on a long journey, a small petrol generator kicks in to keep the battery out of complete flatness.’
  • 4The quality of a musical sound being below normal pitch.

    ‘the flatness of the vocals’
    • ‘The sound is also good, though it has the flatness normally associated with stereo tracks.’
    • ‘He gives Erik a rather heroic sound, with occasionally covered tone leading to some flatness.’
    • ‘She mostly excelled with Olympia's aria, but her high notes occasionally soured toward flatness.’
    • ‘He leans deeply into one register for the flatness of tone that can only be realized when playing the outermost edge of a key with all of the mute pedals on.’
    • ‘All evening long, however, something about her vocal production colored her pitch toward flatness.’
    • ‘There's a sense of poignancy to her performance, but the vocal flatness eventually becomes problematic.’
    • ‘He heard the same flatness and lack of detail in the 3D audio world he loved to inhabit.’
    • ‘As Don José, he had the high notes, but with occasional flatness, which was especially unsatisfactory when the character unraveled in jealous anger in the fourth act.’
    • ‘He sang well, although struggling with flatness throughout the evening.’
    • ‘The performance was marred by occasional flatness, but the plunge from an extremely high to an extremely low note in the cadenza was breathtaking.’