Meaning of FLAT in English

I. ˈflat, usu -ad.+V adjective

( flatter ; flattest )

Etymology: Middle English, from Old Norse flatr; akin to Old Saxon flat shallow, Old High German flaz flat, Latvian plañdît to make broad, Greek platys flat, broad — more at place

1. : having or marked by a continuous surface that is horizontal or nearly so without significant curvature or inclination and without noteworthy elevations or depression

a flat top

a flat plateau

a flat deck


a. : lying at full length or spread out upon the ground : level with the ground or earth

urged the pony flat out and belly to the ground — Alan LeMay

: prostrate

grass flat after the storm

b. : utterly ruined, incapacitated, or destroyed : laid low

buildings flat from the blast

was flat with diphtheria

my hopes all flat — John Milton

c. : resting with a surface against or immediately adjoining something

push the chairs flat against the wall

is flat on his back in bed


a. : having a smooth or even surface whether horizontal or not

use the flatter side for the face

a flat slab of rock

b. : smooth or even by comparison with something usually implied

a broad flat face

a design worked in flat relief

c. of a fur : having a smooth sleek surface due to hairs lying strongly inclined to the surface ; sometimes : having the hairs sparse and short

d. of a knit fabric : lacking ribs : flat-knit

4. : arranged or laid out so as to be level, smooth, or even

maps flat on the desk


a. : having the major surfaces essentially parallel and distinctly greater than the minor surfaces

a flat piece of wood

coins are usually round and flat

b. of a shoe heel : very low and broad ; also of a shoe : having a flat heel or no heel

flat shoes for ballet


a. : clear and unmistakable : downright , positive

a flat contradiction of his sister's statement

a flat failure

sometimes : peremptory

a flat denial of responsibility

b. : not varied or varying (as from a fixed or normal amount or standard) : absolute , fixed

a flat service charge

a flat rate

also : having no fraction either lacking or in excess : exact , precise

made the bus in a flat 10 seconds

ran the mile in four minutes flat


a. : weak or lacking in animation, spirit, zest, or vigor : devoid of qualities that please, interest, or stimulate dull , lifeless

a flat drab deadly round of work, eat, sleep

flat puerile writing lacking both substance and style

plays whose composition is neither lifelike nor unlifelike but just flat — Marston Balch

b. : lacking mental alertness or vigor : dull and stupid

flat cloddish minds

c. : lacking savor : insipid , tasteless

the stew is too flat

d. of an effervescent drink : having given off the included gas and become still : lacking effervescence or sparkle

beer goes flat on standing

e. : commercially inactive : dull and depressed

the market is very flat for this time of year

f. : deflated — used chiefly of pneumatic tires

g. : lacking funds : having no money


a. : characterized by lack of clearness, sharpness, accuracy of pitch, or sonority — used especially of the tone quality of a musical instrument or voice

the bell has a flat sound as if cracked

b. of a musical note or tone : minor or lower by a half step

a flat seventh

also of a key or tonality : having a flat in the signature

the key of B flat

c. of a vowel a

(1) : pronounced as in bad or bat — used especially when so pronounced in a class of English words that have the vowel of palm or par in some dialects

pronouncing ask with a flat a

(2) : pronounced with a sound that more resembles in quality the a of bat than the o of bother without actually being the a of bat — used of the a of such words as part, palm, father as often pronounced in eastern New England


a. : having a low trajectory

the bow shoots a flat arrow

made a flat pass that was intercepted

b. of a tennis ball : hit squarely without being spun by the racket

a flat drive

10. : not having an inflectional ending or sign — used especially of an adherent noun, an infinitive without the sign to, or an adverb with no adverbial ending

11. of a curve or angle : gradual , shallow : not sharp or steep

flat dive

flat glide


a. of a weather map : showing little regional variation in barometric pressure

b. of weather : having not much wind or pressure variation : calm

13. of a sail : made taut so as to prevent or reduce bellying

eased before the wind with all sheets flat


a. : uniform in hue or shade

figures standing out against a background of flat wash

b. of a painting : having little or no illusion of depth, interest being concentrated on the surface treatment

c. of a photograph or negative : lacking contrast

d. of a lighting arrangement : not emphasizing shadows or contours — used especially of an arrangement for photography in which light comes from a point that is in front of the subject and in line with the camera

e. : free from gloss

a flat paint

f. of a proof : made from an unfinished printing surface

took a flat proof from a form on the press but not yet made ready

15. : having no bevel — used to ship timbers

16. : being or relating to a transducer response or output that is in constant ratio to the input as the frequency varies so that there is distortionless reproduction over a specified frequency range

Synonyms: see insipid , level

II. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English, from flat, adjective — more at flat I



(1) : a level surface of land with little or no relief : plain

(2) : a level tract lying at little depth below the surface of water or alternately covered and left bare by the tide : shoal , shallow , strand

(3) : a tract of wet low-lying level land : marsh , swamp

(4) chiefly North & Midland : bottom 6


(1) : one of the divisions of cropland used in common

(2) dialect : a field growing a crop

c. : a horizontal extension of a mineral vein ; also : a flat horizontal deposit (as of ore)

d. : a running track or other course for a flat race

a race for three-year-old trotters on the flat

e. : the part of a football field immediately adjacent to the flanks of either team

2. : a flat part or surface: as

a. : one of the larger essentially parallel surfaces of something characterized by great disparity in the size of its surfaces — often opposed to edge

struck the boy with the flat of the ruler

drive the stake with the flat of your ax

b. : the palm of the hand sometimes together with the palmar surface of the fingers

pat out the dough with the flat of your hand

3. : an improper die that because of imperfectly cubical form tends to present a particular face more frequently than a perfect die


a. : a musical note or tone one half step lower than a specified note or tone

A flat is the flat of A

b. : a character ♭ on a line or space of the musical staff indicating a pitch a half step lower than the line or space would otherwise indicate without it

5. : something of broad shallow form: as

a. : a shallow basket, crate, or other container in which produce is shipped to market

b. : a broad-brimmed low-crowned straw hat

c. : a platform on wheels upon which displays (as of emblematic designs) are drawn in processions — compare float

d. : a shallow box in which seedlings are started

e. : a flat-bottomed boat with a shallow draft and without keel

f. : a flatcar or other draft vehicle (as a motortruck or handcart) without raised sides

g. : a pressed paper divider having shallow depressions in which eggs are placed to fill a single layer of an egg case

h. : a flat piece of theatrical scenery typically consisting of a wood frame covered with painted cloth and used to form a section of a set wall or ceiling or to mask a door or window

i. : one of the slats with teeth that are mounted on an endless chain above the cylinder of a carding machine and that assist in ordering the textile fiber being carded

6. : something of broad and thin or flat form: as

a. : a plane mirror or reflector ; also : a transparent disk with one or both surfaces accurately plane — called also optical flat

b. : a mature mushroom with a fully expanded cap — compare button 2d

c. : a picture-frame mat

d. : a level deck on a ship ; especially : one onto which cabins open

e. : a shoe or slipper having a flat heel or no heel

f. : an architectural member having the form of a platform of generally horizontal character (as the deck of a roof with steep sides or any roof of which the slope does not much exceed one in twenty)

g. : a long flat square-edged artist's brush — compare bright , round

h. : a collapsed or knocked down container as sent in bulk to the purchaser

i. : the straight part of the cutting edge of a machine tool

7. : a punctured tire : a pneumatic tire with no air pressure


a. : a rolled metal bar of uniform rectangular cross section

b. : the cylindrical portion of the contour at either root or crest of certain screw threads

9. : euclidean space

10. : a surface (as of paint) that is not glossy


a. : an unfolded sheet of paper

b. flats plural : writing paper with a flat smooth surface

12. : the thick glass on which negative films are laid close together for printing on sensitized metal in making a photoengraving ; also : an assemblage of negative or positive films from which a photo-offset plate is made

13. : an inferior grade of rough diamonds


a. : a dance step with the full surface of the foot

b. : the act of gliding upright on both edges of a skate blade during a curve where the single edge position is correct ; also : the double track that shows on the ice when a flat occurs — called also double edge

III. adverb

Etymology: flat (I)

1. : in a flat manner : directly , positively

came out flat for less work and higher pay


a. : at full length

fell flat on his face

b. : on or against a flat surface

lying flat on his back

spread out flat on the ground

3. : wholly , completely

flat broke

4. : without charging or without paying interest (as when giving or receiving credit) ; especially : without allowance or charge for accrued interest — used of the selling or quoting of bonds

5. : below the proper musical pitch

he sang slightly flat

6. : with flat sail

sailing flat in a high wind

IV. verb

( flatted ; flatted ; flatting ; flats )

Etymology: flat (I)

transitive verb

1. obsolete : to lay flat : level , raze

2. archaic : to make flat or level : flatten

3. obsolete : to make dull, insipid, or spiritless

passions are allayed, appetites are flatted — Isaac Barrow


a. : to depress (a musical tone) in pitch

b. : to lower in pitch by a half step

a flatted fifth


a. : to cover (a surface) with a flat coat (as of paint)

b. : to remove the gloss from (a painted or varnished surface) especially by sanding

c. : to free (a paint) from the tendency to set with a glossy surface (as by the addition of turpentine)

6. : to plant (as bulbs) in or transplant (as seedlings) into a flat

intransitive verb

1. obsolete : to become flat or flattened : sink or fall to an even surface

2. of a musical tone : to fall from the true or intended pitch

could tell the approach of the milkman by the whistled notes that somehow always flatted

V. noun

( -s )

Etymology: flat (I)

1. : a floor, loft, or story in a building


a. chiefly Britain : an apartment or suite of rooms occupying or forming part of one floor of a building — compare maisonette

b. chiefly North : an apartment on one floor usually with separate outdoor entry and sometimes lacking amenities

a cold-water flat

— compare tenement ; see railroad flat

3. : a building divided into flats — often used in plural

VI. adjective

1. : two-dimensional 2b

flat characters in fiction

2. : characterized by no significant rise or decline (as in profit, resources, or sales) from one period to another

3. : being or characterized by a horizontal line or tracing without peaks or depressions

a flat EEG

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.