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flat (adj.)

c. 1300, "stretched out (on a surface), prostrate, lying the whole length on the ground;" mid-14c., "level, all in one plane; even, smooth;" of a roof, "low-pitched," from Old Norse flatr "flat," from Proto-Germanic *flata- (source also of Old Saxon flat "flat, shallow," Old High German flaz "flat, level," Old High German flezzi "floor"), from PIE root *plat- "to spread."

From c. 1400 as "without curvature or projection." Sense of "prosaic, dull" is from 1570s, on the notion of "featureless, lacking contrast." Used of drink from c. 1600; of women's bosoms by 1864. Of musical notes from 1590s, because the tone is "lower" than a given or intended pitch. As the B of the modern diatonic scale was the first tone to be so modified, the "flat" sign as well as the "natural" sign in music notation are modified forms of the letter b (rounded or square).

Flat tire or flat tyre is from 1908. Flat-screen (adj.) in reference to television is from 1969 as a potential technology. Flat-earth (adj.) in reference to refusal to accept evidence of a global earth, is from 1876.

flat (n.)

1801, "a story of a house," from Scottish flat "floor or story of a house," from Old English flett "a dwelling, hall; floor, ground," from Proto-Germanic *flatja-, from suffixed form of PIE root *plat- "to spread." Meaning "floor or part of a floor set up as an apartment" is from 1824. Directly from flat (adj.) come the senses "level ground near water" (late 13c.); "a flat surface, the flat part of anything" (1374), and "low shoe" (1834).

flat (adv.)

1550s, "absolutely, downright;" 1570s, "plainly, positively," from flat (adj.). Flat-out (adv.) "openly, directly" is from 1932, originally in motor racing, picked up in World War II by the airmen; earlier it was a noun meaning "total failure" (1870, U.S. colloquial).

flat (v.)

c. 1600, "to lay flat;" 1670s in music, from flat (adj.). Related: Flatted; flatting.

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Definitions of flat from WordNet
1
flat (adj.)
having a surface without slope, tilt in which no part is higher or lower than another;
a flat desk
skirts sewn with fine flat seams
Synonyms: level / plane
flat (adj.)
having a relatively broad surface in relation to depth or thickness;
flat computer monitors
flat (adj.)
not modified or restricted by reservations;
a flat refusal
Synonyms: categoric / categorical / unconditional
flat (adj.)
stretched out and lying at full length along the ground;
found himself lying flat on the floor
Synonyms: prostrate
flat (adj.)
lacking contrast or shading between tones;
flat (adj.)
(of a musical note) lowered in pitch by one chromatic semitone;
B flat
flat (adj.)
flattened laterally along the whole length (e.g., certain leafstalks or flatfishes);
Synonyms: compressed
flat (adj.)
lacking taste or flavor or tang;
Synonyms: bland / flavorless / flavourless / insipid / savorless / savourless / vapid
flat (adj.)
lacking stimulating characteristics; uninteresting;
a flat joke
Synonyms: bland
flat (adj.)
having lost effervescence;
a flat cola
flat beer
flat (adj.)
sounded or spoken in a tone unvarying in pitch;
flat (adj.)
horizontally level;
a flat roof
flat (adj.)
lacking the expected range or depth; not designed to give an illusion or depth;
a flat two-dimensional painting
Synonyms: two-dimensional / -dimensional
flat (adj.)
not reflecting light; not glossy;
flat wall paint
Synonyms: mat / matt / matte / matted
flat (adj.)
commercially inactive;
prices remained flat
flat sales for the month
a flat market
2
flat (n.)
a level tract of land;
the salt flats of Utah
flat (n.)
a shallow box in which seedlings are started;
flat (n.)
a musical notation indicating one half step lower than the note named;
flat (n.)
freight car without permanent sides or roof;
Synonyms: flatcar / flatbed
flat (n.)
a deflated pneumatic tire;
Synonyms: flat tire
flat (n.)
scenery consisting of a wooden frame covered with painted canvas; part of a stage setting;
flat (n.)
a suite of rooms usually on one floor of an apartment house;
Synonyms: apartment
3
flat (adv.)
with flat sails;
sail flat against the wind
flat (adv.)
in a forthright manner; candidly or frankly;
came out flat for less work and more pay
Synonyms: directly / straight
From wordnet.princeton.edu