Definition of flatter in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Lavish insincere praise and compliments upon (someone), especially to further one's own interests.

    ‘she was flattering him to avoid doing what he wanted’
    • ‘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 then went on to flatter them further by complimenting their car parks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He does not flatter me with compliments, which I know cannot be genuine.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Alex told me that Benny tried to flatter Alex into appearing in porno movies.’
    • ‘Time to flatter her then, and get her back to at least friendship.’
    • ‘He managed the nobility by honouring and flattering them.’
    • ‘Remember, when you compliment the trainee you also flatter the person who trained them.’
    • ‘And he flatters the mother and she kind of gets prissy and he talks her into going for a ride in the sports car.’
    • ‘He flatters him to his face and steals from behind his back.’
    compliment, praise, commend, admire, express admiration for, pay tribute to, say nice things about
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1usually be flattered Make (someone) feel honored and pleased.
      with object and infinitive ‘I was very flattered to be given the commission’
      with object and clause ‘at least I am flattered that you don't find me boring’
      • ‘Nothing flattered her more than compliments for her cooking.’
      • ‘He said that he was honoured and very flattered to be chosen as the first recipient of the award.’
      • ‘On the other, she was flattered by his interest in whether or not she had a boyfriend.’
      • ‘Well, Jack, I am still flattered that you, of all people, would be interested in hiring me.’
      • ‘When I review the list of past honorees and their truly impressive contributions, I am flattered and pleased to be among them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was a great honour, and I feel flattered to have been nominated.’
      • ‘Hell, I'm too vain not to be flattered at least a little bit.’
      • ‘He said it pleased him, and he was flattered not offended.’
      • ‘Sandra is unbelievably flattered by the little boy's compliment.’
      • ‘Admitting that he was flattered by the interest, Gerrard said: ‘I'll sit down at the end of the season and assess my future.’’
      • ‘Yet I knew he was pleased, flattered, captivated.’
      • ‘On the one hand I'm slightly flattered by the attention and pleased that the writing here is giving someone pleasure.’
      • ‘But even so, I'm pleased and flattered, and very slightly embarrassed.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘While he is flattered by such ongoing praise, he says he never tried to he a role model.’
      • ‘There may also be an aspect of creative and spiritual growth for you here since you feel flattered to be chosen for this honour.’
      • ‘Patrick was flattered and pleased that his old friends had elected to let him continue to play with them.’
      • ‘He should be at least a little flattered.’
      • ‘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 Make oneself feel pleased by believing something favorable about oneself, typically something that is unfounded.
      with clause ‘I flatter myself I'm the best dressed man here’
      • ‘I flatter myself by thinking that some wayward janitor refuses to wash it off because he agrees with the sentiment.’
      • ‘I wrote back one sentence: Don't flatter yourself.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Both the schools and the courts flatter themselves that their job is to change society.’
      • ‘I flatter myself as cultured, but I'm evidently a proper philistine.’
      • ‘I went back thinking these were guys I had formed a great rapport with, and I realised that actually I was flattering myself.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, we can flatter ourselves that we're making democracy work.’
      • ‘I even flattered myself that I knew something about computer-assisted investigative reporting.’
      • ‘And we must never flatter ourselves that we can do that.’
      • ‘Their findings suggest that many were flattering themselves in their self-reported profiles.’
    3. 1.3 Give an unrealistically favorable impression of.
      ‘the portraitist flatters his sitter to the detriment of his art’
      • ‘Television does the opposite - in its quest for their money, it relentlessly flatters children, presenting them as autonomous and wise.’
      • ‘I still believe that the scoreline flattered City.’
      • ‘That interpretation flatters him, for he did no such thing.’
      • ‘Captain Suzie Muirhead says the scoreline flatters the Australians.’
      • ‘Tockwith made it five from five when they beat Rufforth 3-0 though the score-line slightly flattered them.’
      • ‘York dominated for long periods so much that the final scoreline flattered Leeds.’
      • ‘Although this scoreline flattered the Seasiders, there was a fair chance that they could hold out for the next 34 minutes.’
      • ‘Parkville advanced in the Youths Shield, but were somewhat flattered by the final scoreline.’
      • ‘‘It sounds silly when it's five goals but the scoreline flattered Perth,’ insists Ferguson.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The scoreline might have flattered the home side, but the visitors could have no complaints about the outcome.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A fluky opening score and a try right on the final hooter meant the scoreline flattered Batley in what was an evenly-contested match.’
      • ‘This scoreline slightly flatters the winners as they only pulled away in the last ten minutes to win the game.’
      • ‘In truth, the scoreline somewhat flattered the champions.’
      • ‘Indeed, the final scoreline perhaps flattered Leigh, or at least did a disservice to the effort of the York team.’
      • ‘The scoreline flattered the opposition, who only entered Kendal's area twice in the first half and had few shots all game.’
      • ‘The scoreline actually flattered both sides, for this was not exactly the best advert for Premiership football.’
    4. 1.4 (of a color or a style of clothing) make (someone) appear more attractive or to the best advantage.
      ‘the muted fuchsia shade flattered her pale skin’
      • ‘Allow your child to try on different clothing styles until she finds what flatters her or suits her personality.’
      • ‘The empire line is back in vogue after several decades, but it has always been a great style to flatter any figure.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This shade of blue flatters almost any skin tone and is fiercely hot right now.’
      • ‘Take note of styles that flatter and fit your shape.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Television flatters men but makes women look fatter, according to research reported yesterday.’
      • ‘And I can't help but notice how the survival/fashion gear flatters her.’
      • ‘Try the following styles, proven to flatter your body type.’
      • ‘On the eyes choose shades that flatter your complexion, such as chocolate, rich brown, caramel and toast.’
      • ‘He knows what cut and colour suit him best - like pink, because it flatters his skin tone.’
      • ‘When you really want to flatter your eyes, go for sheer, neutral shadow colors like beige or pale banana-yellow.’
      • ‘Choosing the right colour is also essential if you want to flatter your natural skin tone.’
      • ‘It's important to choose a dress style which will flatter everyone's figure.’
      • ‘As a result, decide on some basic pieces of jewelry that will flatter all of your clothing and travel with those.’
      • ‘It's a good style because it flatters lots of hair and face types.’
      • ‘Layered shaggy styles flatter the pear shape face.’
      • ‘She was wearing a turquoise suit that flattered her dark complexion.’
      • ‘Choose a shape that flatters your figure and a colour that suits your skin, eyes and hair.’
      • ‘He did look awfully good; a slight beach tan definitely flattered his appearance.’
      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 young 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.’


Middle English: perhaps a back-formation from flattery.