flatter

\ \ [13] Etymologically, flatter means ‘smooth down or caress with the flat of the hand’. It comes from Old French flatter, in which the original literal notion of ‘caressing’ had already passed into the figurative ‘buttering up’. The Old French verb in turn was based on Frankish *flat, the ‘flat or palm of someone’s hand’, a word which shared a common source with English flat.
\ \ Cf.FLAT

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • flatter — [ flate ] v. tr. <conjug. : 1> • XIIe; aussi flater, flatir « jeter à plat »; du frq. °flat « plat » I ♦ A ♦ (Sujet personne; compl. être animé) 1 ♦ Louer excessivement ou faussement (qqn), pour plaire, séduire. ⇒ aduler, encenser,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Flatter — Flat ter (fl[a^]t t[ e]r), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Flattered}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Flattering}.] [OE. flateren, cf. OD. flatteren; akin to G. flattern to flutter, Icel. fla[eth]ra to fawn, flatter: cf. F. flatter. Cf. {Flitter}, {Flutter}, {Flattery}.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Flatter — Flat ter, v. i. To use flattery or insincere praise. [1913 Webster] If it may stand him more in stead to lie, Say and unsay, feign, flatter, or adjure. Milton. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • flatter — (v.) early 13c., from O.Fr. flater to flatter (13c.), originally stroke with the hand, caress, from Frankish *flat palm, flat of the hand (see FLAT (Cf. flat) (adj.)). [O]ne of many onomatopoeic verbs beginning with fl and denoting unsteady or… …   Etymology dictionary

  • flatter — [v1] compliment excessively adulate, beslaver, blandish, bootlick*, brownnose*, build up*, butter up*, cajole, cater to, charm, con, court, fawn*, get next to*, glorify, grovel, humor, inveigle, jolly, lay it on thick*, massage, oil*, overpraise …   New thesaurus

  • flatter — ► VERB 1) praise or compliment insincerely, especially to further one s own interests. 2) (usu. be flattered) cause to feel honoured and pleased. 3) (flatter oneself) believe something favourable about oneself, especially something unfounded. 4)… …   English terms dictionary

  • flatter — flatter1 [flat′ər] vt. [ME flateren < OFr flater, to smooth, caress with flat hand < Frank * flat, akin to OHG flaz, FLAT1] 1. to praise too much, untruly, or insincerely, as in order to win favor 2. to try to please, or ingratiate oneself… …   English World dictionary

  • Flatter — Flat ter (fl[a^]t t[ e]r), n. 1. One who, or that which, makes flat or flattens. [1913 Webster] 2. (Metal Working) (a) A flat faced fulling hammer. (b) A drawplate with a narrow, rectangular orifice, for drawing flat strips, as watch springs, etc …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • flatter — index overestimate Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • Flatter — Flatter,die:dieF.machen:⇨wegschleichen(I) …   Das Wörterbuch der Synonyme

  • flatter — (fla té) v. a. 1°   Caresser par quelque attouchement (sens étymologique et primitif). Flatter un enfant. Flatter un cheval avec la main. Le chien flatte avec la queue. •   Puis, me flattant l épaule, il me fit librement L honneur que d approuver …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

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