/ flæt; NAmE / adjective , noun , adverb , verb
( flat·ter , flat·test )
having a level surface, not curved or sloping :
low buildings with flat roofs
People used to think the earth was flat.
Exercise is the only way to get a flat stomach after having a baby.
The sails hung limply in the flat calm (= conditions at sea when there is no wind and the water is completely level) .
( of land ) without any slopes or hills :
The road stretched ahead across the flat landscape.
( of surfaces ) smooth and even; without lumps or holes :
I need a flat surface to write on.
We found a large flat rock to sit on.
broad but not very high :
Chapattis are a kind of flat Indian bread.
flat shoes (= with no heels or very low ones)
dull; lacking interest or enthusiasm :
He felt very flat after his friends had gone home.
not showing much emotion; not changing much in tone :
Her voice was flat and expressionless.
COLOURS / PICTURES
very smooth, with no contrast between light and dark, and giving no impression of depth :
Acrylic paints can be used to create large, flat blocks of colour.
not very successful because very little is being sold :
The housing market has been flat for months.
REFUSAL / DENIAL
[ only before noun ] not allowing discussion or argument; definite :
Her request was met with a flat refusal.
He gave a flat 'No!' to one reporter's question.
used after the name of a note to mean a note a semitone / half tone lower :
That note should be B flat, not B.
below the correct pitch (= how high or low a note sounds) :
The high notes were slightly flat.
no longer having bubbles in it; not fresh :
The soda was warm and had gone flat.
( BrE ) unable to supply any more electricity
not containing enough air, usually because of a hole
with no natural raised curves underneath
—see also flat-footed
► flat·ness noun [ U ]
- and that's flat!
- as flat as a pancake
—more at back noun , spin noun
[ C ] ( BrE ) a set of rooms for living in, including a kitchen, usually on one floor of a building :
Do you live in a flat or a house?
They're renting a furnished flat on the third floor.
a ground-floor flat
a new block of flats
Many large old houses have been converted into flats.
Children from the flats (= the block of flats) across the street were playing outside.
[ sing. ] the ~ of sth the flat level part of sth :
He beat on the door with the flat of his hand.
the flat of a sword
[ C , usually pl. ] an area of low flat land, especially near water :
—see also mudflat
the flat , the Flat [ sing. ] ( BrE ) the season for racing horses on flat ground with no jumps
[ C ] a note played a semitone / half tone lower than the note that is named. The written symbol is (♭) :
There are no sharps or flats in the key of C major.
[ C ] ( especially NAmE ) a tyre that has lost air, usually because of a hole :
We got a flat on the way home.
We had to stop to fix a flat.
[ C ] ( technical ) a vertical section of scenery used on a theatre stage
flats [ pl. ] = flatties
- on the flat
( comparative flat·ter , no superlative )
spread out in a level, straight position, especially against another surface :
Lie flat and breathe deeply.
They pressed themselves flat against the tunnel wall as the train approached.
REFUSING / DENYING
( BrE ) ( NAmE ˌflat ˈout ) ( informal ) in a definite and direct way :
She told me flat she would not speak to me again.
I made them a reasonable offer but they turned it down flat.
lower than the correct pitch (= how high or low a note sounds) :
He sings flat all the time.
- fall flat
- fall flat on your face
- flat broke
- flat out
- in ... flat
( -tt- ) [ v ] ( AustralE , NZE ) to live in or share a flat / apartment :
My sister Zoe flats in Auckland.
adjective and adverb noun senses 2 to 8 Middle English : from Old Norse flatr .
noun sense 1 early 19th cent. (denoting a floor or storey): alteration of obsolete flet floor, dwelling , of Germanic origin and related to flat level .