Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “flat”


adjective uk   /flæt/ (flatter, flattest) us  

flat adjective (LEVEL)

B1 level and smooth, with no curved, high, or hollow parts: An ice rink needs to be completely flat. Roll out the pastry on a flat surface. Much of the countryside in East Anglia is very flat.

flat adjective (NOT HIGH)

B1 level but having little or no height: flat shoes (= ones without a raised heel) describes bread that is made without yeast, and therefore does not rise: Pitta and nan are two types of flat bread. flat cap/hat UK a hat that is not rounded on top and has little height

flat adjective (NOT ACTIVE)

not interesting, or without emotion or excitement: After the excitement of the party, life seems rather flat now. I thought her performance a little flat. I think the colours in this painting are rather flat (= not varied or bright).

flat adjective (BATTERY)

UK with no electrical power left in it: I left my car lights on and now the battery is flat (US dead).

flat adjective (DRINK)

C2 describes a drink that has stopped being fizzy (= with bubbles): If you don't put the top back on that bottle of beer, it will go flat.

flat adjective (COMPLETE)

[before noun] complete or certain, and not likely to change: His request for time off work was met with a flat refusal. The minister has issued a flat denial of the accusations against her.

flat adjective (WITHOUT AIR)

B2 If something such as a tyre or ball is flat, it does not contain enough air: I got a flat tyre (US tire) (= the air went out of it) after driving over a nail.

flat adjective (FIXED)

[before noun] (especially of an amount of money) fixed and not likely to change: We charge a flat fee/rate of $25 per hour.

flat adjective (PROFITS)

If profits, sales, etc. are flat, they are not growing or increasing: Demand for our machinery abroad is increasing, while growth is flat at home.


noun uk   /flæt/ us  

flat noun (HOME)

A1 [C] UK (US apartment) a set of rooms for living in that are part of a larger building and are usually all on one floor: a furnished/unfurnished flat a block of flats They have a house in the country and a flat in London.
See also

flat noun (LEVEL GROUND)

[C often plural] an area of low, level ground, often near water: The salt flats are used for motor racing. The mud flats attract large numbers of birds. the flat of your hand the palm and fingers when they are held straight and level: He hit me with the flat of his hand. be on the flat to be on a level surface, not on a slope or hill: Most of the path is on the flat.

flat noun (TYRE WITHOUT AIR)

[C usually singular] mainly US informal a flat tyre: We were late because we had to stop and fix a flat.

flat noun (SHOES)

flats [plural] women's shoes without high heels: I feel more comfortable in flats.

flat noun (MUSIC)

[C] (a symbol for) a note that is a semitone lower than a stated note


adjective, adverb uk   /flæt/ (flatter, flattest) us  

flat adjective, adverb (MUSIC)

(in music) lower than a particular note or the correct note: The top string on your violin is flat. She sang flat throughout the song (= all the notes she sang were too low).


adverb uk   /flæt/ (flatter, flattest) us  

flat adverb (LEVEL)

B2 in a level position, often against another surface: Lay the cloth flat across the table.

flat adverb (NOT HIGH)

into a flat shape without height: These garden chairs will fold flat for storage.

flat adverb (COMPLETELY)

informal completely or to the greatest degree possible: She told him flat (US also flat out that she would not go to the show. Could you lend me some money, I'm flat broke (= I have no money).
See also
three minutes, half an hour, etc. flat informal exactly three minutes, half an hour, etc.: We managed to get to the station in five minutes flat. flat out informal as fast or as hard as possible: My car only does about 60 mph, even when it's going flat out. We've been working flat out to get this done.
(Definition of flat from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of flat?
Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Certainty, but you might be interested in these topics from the Chance and possibility topic area:

Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “flat” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


a girl or young woman

Word of the Day

Countability – grammar codes

by Dom Glennon​​,
November 26, 2014
Advices and informations Have you ever noticed strange codes in square brackets on entries in Cambridge Dictionaries Online and wondered what they mean? These are grammar codes, giving you a brief summary of how that word behaves grammatically. More information can be obtained by hovering your cursor over the code, and there’s

Read More 

ped-text verb

November 24, 2014
to text someone while walking I’m ped-texting, I’m looking down at my phone, 75 percent of the time.

Read More