Fall flat

flat

1 [flat]
adjective, flatter, flattest.
1.
horizontally level: a flat roof.
2.
level, even, or without unevenness of surface, as land or tabletops.
3.
having a surface that is without marked projections or depressions: a broad, flat face.
4.
lying horizontally and at full length, as a person; prostrate: He was flat on the canvas after the knockdown.
5.
lying wholly on or against something: The banner was flat against the wall.
6.
thrown down, laid low, or level with the ground, as fallen trees or buildings.
7.
having a generally level shape or appearance; not deep or thick: a flat plate.
8.
(of the heel of a shoe) low and broad.
9.
spread out, as an unrolled map or the open hand.
10.
deflated; collapsed: a flat tire.
11.
absolute, downright, or positive; without qualification: a flat denial.
12.
without modification or variation: a flat rate.
13.
Informal. lacking money; broke.
14.
without vitality or animation; lifeless; dull: flat writing.
15.
having lost its flavor, sharpness, or life, as wine or food; stale.
16.
(of a beverage) having lost its effervescence.
17.
without flavor; not spiced: flat cooking.
18.
prosaic, banal, or insipid: a flat style.
19.
pointless, as a remark or joke.
20.
commercially inactive: a flat day in the stock market.
21.
(of a painting) not having the illusion of volume or depth.
22.
(of a photograph or painting) lacking contrast or gradations of tone or color.
23.
(of paint) without gloss; not shiny; mat.
24.
not clear, sharp, or ringing, as sound or a voice.
25.
lacking resonance and variation in pitch; monotonous: a flat delivery of the speech.
26.
Music.
a.
(of a tone) lowered a half step in pitch: B flat.
b.
below an intended pitch, as a note; too low (opposed to sharp ).
27.
Grammar. derived without change in form, as English to brush from the noun brush and adverbs that do not add -ly to the adjective form as fast, cheap, and slow.
28.
Phonetics. lenis; voiced.
29.
Nautical.
a.
cut with little or no fullness.
b.
trimmed as nearly fore-and-aft as possible, for sailing to windward.
30.
flat a, the a -sound (a) of glad, bat, or act.
noun
31.
something flat.
32.
a shoe, especially a woman's shoe, with a flat heel or no heel.
33.
a flat surface, side, or part of anything: He struck me with the flat of his hand.
34.
flat or level ground; a flat area: salt flats.
35.
a marsh, shoal, or shallow.
36.
Music.
a.
(in musical notation) the character ♭, which when attached to a note or to a staff degree lowers its significance one chromatic half step.
b.
a tone one chromatic half step below another: The flat of B is B flat.
c.
(on keyboard instruments, with reference to any given note) the key next below or to the left.
37.
Theater. a piece of scenery consisting of a wooden frame, usually rectangular, covered with lightweight board or fabric.
38.
a broad, thin book, chiefly for children: a juvenile flat.
39.
Informal. a deflated automobile tire.
40.
(in postal use) a large flat package, as in a manila envelope, for mailing.
41.
Architecture. a flat roof or deck.
42.
Nautical.
a.
Also called platform. a partial deck between two full decks.
b.
a low, flat barge or lighter.
43.
Shipbuilding.
a.
a broad, flat piece of iron or steel for overlapping and joining two plates at their edges.
b.
a straight timber in a frame or other assembly of generally curved timbers.
44.
an iron or steel bar of rectangular cross section.
45.
Textiles. one of a series of laths covered with card clothing, used in conjunction with the cylinder in carding.
46.
Photography. one or more negatives or positives in position to be reproduced.
47.
Printing. a device for holding a negative or positive flat for reproduction by photoengraving.
48.
Horticulture. a shallow, lidless box or tray used for rooting seeds and cuttings and for growing young plants.
49.
a similar box used for shipping and selling fruits and vegetables.
50.
Football. the area of the field immediately inside of or outside of an offensive end, close behind or at the line of scrimmage.
51.
flats, Informal. flat races between horses. Compare flat race.
verb (used with object), flatted, flatting.
52.
to make flat.
53.
Music. to lower (a pitch), especially one half step.
verb (used without object), flatted, flatting.
54.
to become flat.
adverb
55.
in a flat position; horizontally; levelly.
56.
in a flat manner; positively; absolutely.
57.
completely; utterly: flat broke.
58.
exactly; precisely: She ran around the track in two minutes flat.
59.
Music. below the true pitch: to sing flat.
60.
Finance. without interest.
Verb phrases
61.
flat in, Nautical. to pull the clew of (a fore-and-aft sail) as nearly amidships as possible. Also, flatten in.
Idioms
62.
fall flat, to fail to produce the desired effect; fail completely: His attempts at humor fell flat.
63.
flat aft, Nautical. trimmed so that fore-and-aft sails present as flat a surface as possible, as in sailing close to the wind.
64.
flat on one's back. back ( def 19 ).
65.
flat out, Informal.
a.
without hesitation; directly or openly: He told us flat out he'd been a double agent.
b.
at full speed or with maximum effort.

Origin:
1275–1325; Middle English < Old Norse flatr, akin to Old English flet (see flat2), Greek platýs (see platy-, plate1

flatly, adverb
flatness, noun
unflatted, adjective


1. plane. See level. 4. low, prone. 11. outright, peremptory, categorical. 14. boring, spiritless, prosaic. 17. vapid, unsavory.


1, 4. upright, vertical. 14. spirited. 17. savory.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
flat1 (flæt)
 
adj (often foll by against) , flatter, flattest
1.  horizontal; level: flat ground; a flat roof
2.  even or smooth, without projections or depressions: a flat surface
3.  lying stretched out at full length; prostrate: he lay flat on the ground
4.  having little depth or thickness; shallow: a flat dish
5.  having a surface or side in complete contact with another surface: flat against the wall
6.  spread out, unrolled, or levelled
7.  (of a tyre) deflated, either partially or completely
8.  (of shoes) having an unraised or only slightly raised heel
9.  chiefly (Brit)
 a.  (of races, racetracks, or racecourses) not having obstacles to be jumped
 b.  of, relating to, or connected with flat racing as opposed to steeplechasing and hurdling: flat jockeys earn more
10.  without qualification; total: a flat denial
11.  without possibility of change; fixed: a flat rate
12.  (prenominal or immediately postpositive) neither more nor less; exact: he did the journey in thirty minutes flat; a flat thirty minutes
13.  unexciting or lacking point or interest: a flat joke
14.  without variation or resonance; monotonous: a flat voice
15.  (of food) stale or tasteless
16.  (of beer, sparkling wines, etc) having lost effervescence, as by exposure to air
17.  (of trade, business, a market, etc) commercially inactive; sluggish
18.  (of a battery) fully discharged; dead
19.  (of a print, photograph, or painting) lacking contrast or shading between tones
20.  (of paint) without gloss or lustre; matt
21.  (of a painting) lacking perspective
22.  (of lighting) diffuse
23.  music
 a.  (immediately postpositive) denoting a note of a given letter name (or the sound it represents) that has been lowered in pitch by one chromatic semitone: B flat
 b.  Compare sharp (of an instrument, voice, etc) out of tune by being too low in pitch
24.  phonetics another word for lenis
25.  phonetics flat a the vowel sound of a as in the usual US or S Brit pronunciation of hand, cat, usually represented by the symbol (æ)
 
adv
26.  in or into a prostrate, level, or flat state or position: he held his hand out flat
27.  completely or utterly; absolutely: he went flat against the rules
28.  exactly; precisely: in three minutes flat
29.  music
 a.  lower than a standard pitch
 b.  Compare sharp too low in pitch: she sings flat
30.  fall flat to fail to achieve a desired effect, etc
31.  informal flat out
 a.  with the maximum speed or effort
 b.  totally exhausted
 
n
32.  a flat object, surface, or part
33.  (often plural) a low-lying tract of land, esp a marsh or swamp
34.  (often plural) a mud bank exposed at low tide
35.  music
 a.  Usual symbol: an accidental that lowers the pitch of the following note by one chromatic semitone
 b.  Compare sharp a note affected by this accidental
36.  theatre a rectangular wooden frame covered with painted canvas, etc, used to form part of a stage setting
37.  a punctured car tyre
38.  chiefly (Brit) the flat (often cap.)
 a.  flat racing, esp as opposed to steeplechasing and hurdling
 b.  the season of flat racing
39.  nautical a flatboat or lighter
40.  (US), (Canadian) a shallow box or container, used for holding plants, growing seedlings, etc
 
vb , flatter, flattest, flats, flatting, flatted
41.  to make or become flat
42.  music the usual US word for flatten
 
[C14: from Old Norse flatr; related to Old High German flaz flat, Greek platus flat, broad]
 
'flatly1
 
adv
 
'flatness1
 
n

flat2 (flæt)
 
n
1.  Usual US and Canadian name: apartment a set of rooms comprising a residence entirely on one floor of a building
2.  (Brit), (NZ) a portion of a house used as separate living quarters
3.  (NZ) a house shared with people who are not members of one's own family
 
vb , flats, flatting, flatted
4.  (Austral), (NZ) to live in a flat (with someone)
 
[Old English flett floor, hall, house; related to flat1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

flat
early 14c., from O.N. flatr, from P.Gmc. *flataz (cf. O.H.G. flaz "flat, level," O.E. flet, O.H.G. flezzi "floor"), perhaps from PIE *pla- (cf. Gk. platys "broad, flat;" see place (n.)). Sense of "prosaic, dull" is from 1570s; used of drink from c.1600; of musical notes from
1590s, because the tone is "lowered." Flat-footed "unprepared" is 1912 U.S. baseball slang, on notion of "not on one's toes; earlier it meant "straightforwardly" (1828), from notion of "standing firmly." Flat-out (adv.) "openly, directly" is from 1932; earlier it was a noun meaning "total failure" (1870, U.S. colloquial). Flatware is distinguished from hollow ware.

flat
1801, from Scot. flat "floor or story of a house," from O.E. flet "a dwelling, floor, ground," from the same source as flat (adj.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

fall flat

Fail, prove to be ineffective, as in His jokes nearly always fell flatno one ever laughed at them. [First half of 1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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