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[flat-n] /ˈflæt n/
verb (used with object)
to make flat.
to knock down:
The boxer flattened his opponent in the second round.
verb (used without object)
to become flat.
Verb phrases
flatten in, Nautical, flat1 (def 61).
flatten out, Aeronautics. to fly into a horizontal position, as after a dive.
Origin of flatten
1620-30; flat1 + -en1
Related forms
flattener, noun
overflatten, verb (used with object)
unflattened, adjective
2. ground, fell, prostrate, deck, floor. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for flatten
  • There are some things so elastic that even the heavy roller of democracy cannot flatten them altogether down.
  • Trim off fat and skin from three pounds of beef cut from centre of fillet and flatten with a broad-bladed cleaver.
  • The flowers, funnel-shaped when they open in the morning, flatten as the day progresses and are dropped the following day.
  • Hurricanes bring winds and slashing rains that flood streets, flatten homes, and leave survivors struggling to pick up the pieces.
  • flatten the cutlets by pressing them with a wide-blade knife.
  • Mold into ovals, flatten, and dip first in flour and then into the beaten eggs.
  • flatten the sweater and cut two sections to the appropriate size.
  • The bolus of air breaks into three spheres that flatten into mushrooms the diameter of dinner plates, expanding as they climb.
  • Gather up the dough, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and press down to flatten into a disk about one inch thick.
  • Beginning at one edge, press the rolling pin down onto the dough to flatten it, moving it across the dough in increments.
British Dictionary definitions for flatten


(sometimes foll by out) to make or become flat or flatter
(transitive) (informal)
  1. to knock down or injure; prostrate
  2. to crush or subdue: failure will flatten his self-esteem
(transitive) (music) to lower the pitch of (a note) by one chromatic semitone Usual US word flat
(intransitive) foll by out. to manoeuvre an aircraft into horizontal flight, esp after a dive
Derived Forms
flattener, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for flatten

late 14c., "to prostrate oneself," also "to fall flat," from flat (adj.) + -en (1). Meaning "to make flat" is 1620s. Related: Flattened; flattening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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flatten in Technology

To remove structural information, especially to filter something with an implicit tree structure into a simple sequence of leaves; also tends to imply mapping to flat ASCII. "This code flattens an expression with parentheses into an equivalent canonical form."
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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