Definition of flatten in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈflat(ə)n/


1Make or become flat or flatter: [with object]: her hair had been flattened by the storm [no object]: after Kendal, the countryside begins to flatten out
More example sentences
  • Secondly, the mixture is then flattened out in the blending machine, and then it is flattened further in an extruder machine.
  • The heavy boots he wore had long ago flattened and grass he walked on, making a perfectly straight path where he had paced for the past few hours.
  • She quickly brushed, combed, and flattened her hair.
make/become flat, make/become even, make/become smooth, smooth (out/off), level (out/off), even out;
compress, press down, crush, squash, compact;
1.1 [with object and adverbial of place] Press (oneself or one’s body) against a surface: Guy flattened himself against the wall
More example sentences
  • A group of children noisily pushed through the crowd, so Jag flattened himself against the wall to keep from getting squashed.
  • He has flattened himself violently against the wall, his knees bent in towards it, body shaking.
  • She flattened herself against the treetrunk and waited.
2 [with object] Raze (a building or settlement) to the ground: the entire town centre was flattened by the 500 lb bomb
More example sentences
  • The army has used its newly acquired firepower to flatten houses and other buildings, destroy coconut plantations and turn the city into a virtual ghost town.
  • But the torrent of brown water, which was already flattening buildings, wiped out the jeep, drowning her grandchildren.
  • Just 12 minutes after the order, the bombs were dropped from an altitude of 20,000 ft, flattening the building.
demolish, raze, raze to the ground, level, tear down, knock down, destroy, wipe out, topple, wreck, reduce to ruins, devastate, annihilate, pulverize, obliterate, ravage, smash, wipe off the face of the earth, wipe off the map
North American informal total
rare unbuild
2.1 informal Strike (someone) so as to make them fall down: Flynn flattened him with a single punch
More example sentences
  • A vision of me stepping on him, wobbling and then falling on him, flattening him like a pancake flashed through my head.
  • I was about to wish for a rock to fall off the sky and flatten me into a very slow and painful death, when the doorbell rang.
  • He said: ‘The old guy looked in good shape and I'm sure he would have flattened the other guy - if he could have caught him.’
knock down, knock over, knock to the ground, knock off one's feet, fell, rugby-tackle, topple, prostrate
2.2 informal Defeat heavily in a contest: they flattened Bridgend by forty-two points to fifteen
2.3 informal Humiliate or depress (someone): the controversy has flattened everybody here
More example sentences
  • My friend The Teacher would always say that Sunday is a day that can flatten you if you're not feeling on top of the world.
  • When, in my fifties, my wife left me I was flattened.
informal put down, floor, cut down to size, put someone in their place, settle someone's hash
US informal own
3 [with object] Music Lower (a note) in pitch by a semitone.

Phrasal verbs

flatten out

1(Of an increasing quantity or rate) show a less marked rise; slow down: over the last two years our sales increase has flattened out
More example sentences
  • Despite an ongoing economic boom, Portland's housing cost increases flattened out after 1995, and now roughly match the rate of inflation.
  • On the other hand, the survey report will point out that the recent fall in unemployment is slowing, effectively flattening out over the past three months.
  • The long ‘plateau’ period where this rise in prosecutions flattened out is more difficult to explain.
2Make an aircraft fly horizontally after a dive or climb: he flattened out and made a fine three-point landing
More example sentences
  • People out fishing reported seeing the aircraft flying straight and level, then entering a spiral dive before flattening out momentarily.
  • The Ju 88 went into a steep, jinking dive with the rear gunner firing at the other members of his Section who all attacked, until the Ju 88 flattened out and crash-landed at high speed.




Words that rhyme with flatten

baton, batten, fatten, harmattan, Manhattan, Mountbatten, paten, patten, pattern, platen, Saturn, slattern

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: flat|ten

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