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flat Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a level tract of land
    • the salt flats of Utah
  2. noun a shallow box in which seedlings are started
  3. noun a musical notation indicating one half step lower than the note named
  4. noun freight car without permanent sides or roof
    flatcar; flatbed.
  5. noun a deflated pneumatic tire
    flat tire.
  6. noun scenery consisting of a wooden frame covered with painted canvas; part of a stage setting
  7. noun a suite of rooms usually on one floor of an apartment house
  8. adjective satellite having a surface without slope, tilt in which no part is higher or lower than another
    plane; level.
    • a flat desk
    • acres of level farmland
    • a plane surface
    • skirts sewn with fine flat seams
  9. adjective satellite having a relatively broad surface in relation to depth or thickness
    • flat computer monitors
  10. adjective satellite not modified or restricted by reservations
    categoric; unconditional; categorical.
    • a categorical denial
    • a flat refusal
  11. adjective satellite stretched out and lying at full length along the ground
    • found himself lying flat on the floor
  12. adjective lacking contrast or shading between tones
  13. adjective (of a musical note) lowered in pitch by one chromatic semitone
    • B flat
  14. adjective satellite flattened laterally along the whole length (e.g., certain leafstalks or flatfishes)
  15. adjective satellite lacking taste or flavor or tang
    vapid; flavorless; insipid; savorless; savourless; bland; flavourless.
    • a bland diet
    • insipid hospital food
    • flavorless supermarket tomatoes
    • vapid beer
    • vapid tea
  16. adjective satellite lacking stimulating characteristics; uninteresting
    • a bland little drama
    • a flat joke
  17. adjective satellite having lost effervescence
    • flat beer
    • a flat cola
  18. adjective satellite sounded or spoken in a tone unvarying in pitch
    monotonous; monotonic; monotone.
    • the owl's faint monotonous hooting
  19. adjective satellite horizontally level
    • a flat roof
  20. adjective satellite lacking the expected range or depth; not designed to give an illusion or depth
    2-dimensional; two-dimensional.
    • a film with two-dimensional characters
    • a flat two-dimensional painting
  21. adjective satellite not reflecting light; not glossy
    matt; matte; mat; matted.
    • flat wall paint
    • a photograph with a matte finish
  22. adjective satellite commercially inactive
    • flat sales for the month
    • prices remained flat
    • a flat market
  23. adverb with flat sails
    • sail flat against the wind
  24. adverb in a forthright manner; candidly or frankly
    straight; directly.
    • he didn't answer directly
    • told me straight out
    • came out flat for less work and more pay

Flat adjective
Akin to Icel. flatr, Sw. flat, Dan. flad, OHG. flaz, and AS. flet floor, G. flötz stratum, layer.
comparative Flatter ; superlative Flattest
  1. Having an even and horizontal surface, or nearly so, without prominences or depressions; level without inclination; plane.
    Though sun and moon Were in the flat sea sunk. Milton.
  2. Lying at full length, or spread out, upon the ground; level with the ground or earth; prostrate; as, to lie flat on the ground; hence, fallen; laid low; ruined; destroyed.
    What ruins kingdoms, and lays cities flat! Milton.
    I feel . . . my hopes all flat. Milton.
  3. (Fine Arts) Wanting relief; destitute of variety; without points of prominence and striking interest.
    A large part of the work is, to me, very flat. Coleridge.
  4. Tasteless; stale; vapid; insipid; dead; as, fruit or drink flat to the taste.
  5. Unanimated; dull; uninteresting; without point or spirit; monotonous; as, a flat speech or composition.
    How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable Seem to me all the uses of this world. Shak.
  6. Lacking liveliness of commercial exchange and dealings; depressed; dull; as, the market is flat.
  7. Clear; unmistakable; peremptory; absolute; positive; downright.
    Flat burglary as ever was committed. Shak.
    A great tobacco taker too, -- that's flat. Marston.
  8. (Mus.) (a) Below the true pitch; hence, as applied to intervals, minor, or lower by a half step; as, a flat seventh; A flat. (b) Not sharp or shrill; not acute; as, a flat sound.
  9. (Phonetics) Sonant; vocal; -- applied to any one of the sonant or vocal consonants, as distinguished from a nonsonant (or sharp) consonant.
Flat adverb
  1. In a flat manner; directly; flatly.
    Sin is flat opposite to the Almighty. Herbert.
  2. (Stock Exchange) Without allowance for accrued interest. Broker's Cant
Flat noun
  1. A level surface, without elevation, relief, or prominences; an extended plain; specifically, in the United States, a level tract along the along the banks of a river; as, the Mohawk Flats.
    Envy is as the sunbeams that beat hotter upon a bank, or steep rising ground, than upon a flat. Bacon.
  2. A level tract lying at little depth below the surface of water, or alternately covered and left bare by the tide; a shoal; a shallow; a strand.
    Half my power, this night Passing these flats, are taken by the tide. Shak.
  3. Something broad and flat in form; as: (a) A flat-bottomed boat, without keel, and of small draught. (b) A straw hat, broad-brimmed and low-crowned. (c) (Railroad Mach.) A car without a roof, the body of which is a platform without sides; a platform car. (d) A platform on wheel, upon which emblematic designs, etc., are carried in processions.
  4. The flat part, or side, of anything; as, the broad side of a blade, as distinguished from its edge.
  5. (Arch.) A floor, loft, or story in a building; especially, a floor of a house, which forms a complete residence in itself an apartment taking up a whole floor .
  6. (Mining) A horizontal vein or ore deposit auxiliary to a main vein; also, any horizontal portion of a vein not elsewhere horizontal. Raymond.
  7. A dull fellow; a simpleton; a numskull. Colloq.
    Or if you can not make a speech, Because you are a flat. Holmes.
  8. (Mus.) A character [♭] before a note, indicating a tone which is a half step or semitone lower.
  9. (Geom.) A homaloid space or extension.
Flat transitive verb
imperfect & past participle Flatted ; present participle & verbal noun Flatting
  1. To make flat; to flatten; to level.
  2. To render dull, insipid, or spiritless; to depress.
    Passions are allayed, appetites are flatted. Barrow.
  3. To depress in tone, as a musical note; especially, to lower in pitch by half a tone.
Flat intransitive verb
  1. To become flat, or flattened; to sink or fal to an even surface. Sir W. Temple.
  2. (Mus.) To fall form the pitch. = to fall flat

Webster 1913