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[flat-er] /ˈflæt ər/
verb (used with object)
to try to please by complimentary remarks or attention.
to praise or compliment insincerely, effusively, or excessively:
She flatters him by constantly praising his books.
to represent favorably; gratify by falsification:
The portrait flatters her.
to show to advantage:
a hairstyle that flatters the face.
to play upon the vanity or susceptibilities of; cajole, wheedle, or beguile:
They flattered him into contributing heavily to the foundation.
to please or gratify by compliments or attentions:
I was flattered by their invitation.
to feel satisfaction with (oneself), especially with reference to an accomplishment, act, or occasion:
He flattered himself that the dinner had gone well.
to beguile with hope; encourage prematurely, falsely, etc.
verb (used without object)
to use flattery.
Origin of flatter1
1175-1225; Middle English flat(t)eren to float, flutter, fawn upon, Old English floterian to float, flutter; for sense development, cf. flicker1, Old Norse flathra; reinforced by Old French flatter to flatter, literally, to stroke, caress (probably < Frankish *flat- flat1)
Related forms
flatterable, adjective
flatterer, noun
flatteringly, adverb
half-flattered, adjective
half-flattering, adjective
half-flatteringly, adverb
unflatterable, adjective
unflattered, adjective
unflattering, adjective
unflatteringly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for flattered
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was his hour, his moment, every sense was flattered and satisfied.

    The Drunkard Cyril Arthur Edward Ranger Gull
  • His vanity, if he had cherished any during their conversation, was not flattered by its close.

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • He flattered himself that his appearance would win him favor.

    Mark Mason's Victory Horatio Alger
  • To induce him to talk they passed the bottle rapidly and flattered him up.

    Caught In The Net Emile Gaboriau
  • He found an asylum in the house of his new father, whose temper was kind, and whose pride was flattered by this alliance.

    Wieland; or The Transformation Charles Brockden Brown
British Dictionary definitions for flattered


to praise insincerely, esp in order to win favour or reward
to show to advantage: that dress flatters her
(transitive) to make to appear more attractive, etc, than in reality
to play upon or gratify the vanity of (a person): it flatters her to be remembered
(transitive) to beguile with hope; encourage, esp falsely: this success flattered him into believing himself a champion
(transitive) to congratulate or deceive (oneself): I flatter myself that I am the best
Derived Forms
flatterable, adjective
flatterer, noun
flatteringly, adverb
Word Origin
C13: probably from Old French flater to lick, fawn upon, of Frankish origin


a blacksmith's tool, resembling a flat-faced hammer, that is placed on forged work and struck to smooth the surface of the forging
a die with a narrow rectangular orifice for drawing flat sections
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 flattered



early 13c., from Old French flater "to flatter" (13c.), originally "stroke with the hand, caress," from Frankish *flat "palm, flat of the hand" (see flat (adj.)). "[O]ne of many imitative verbs beginning with fl- and denoting unsteady or light, repeated movement" [Liberman]. Related: Flattered; flattering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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