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.
- not flatteringin an unflattering light
- to praise insincerely, esp in order to win favour or reward
- to show to advantagethat dress flatters her
- (tr) 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
- (tr) to beguile with hope; encourage, esp falselythis success flattered him into believing himself a champion
- (tr) to congratulate or deceive (oneself)I flatter myself that I am the best
- 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
adj.1580s, from un- (1) “not” + gerundive of flatter. Related: Unflatteringly. v.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.