To praise someone excessively or insincerely in order to gain favor or please them.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



compliment, praise, sweet-talk, butter up, cajole, coax, adulate, blarney, fawn, glorify, laud, soft-soap, stroke.


Insult, criticize, offend, defame, ridicule, disparage, belittle, discourage, diminish, humiliate.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun flatness, flatlet, flats, flatnesses, flatterers, flatlets, flatterer, flattery, flatteries, flat
Verb flattered, flatters, flattering, flatter, flatting, flats, flatted
Adjective flat
Adverb flatly, flat

Example Sentences

  • The co-worker flattered his boss every chance he got, hoping to get a promotion.

  • It’s clear that the salesman is just trying to flatter you to convince you to buy the expensive product.

  • I don’t appreciate people who flatter me just to get something in return.

  • She knew her friend was just flattered by the attention of the popular group in school, even though they weren’t real friends.


The verb “flatter” is commonly used in everyday language to describe praising someone in a way that is often insincere or exaggerated. It can be used in a positive or negative connotation, depending on the context. For example, someone might say a flattering comment about another person’s outfit, or someone might flatter their boss to try and gain benefits or favors in return.

The word “flatter” does not have a prefix or suffix, but it is believed to have originated from the Old French word “flater”, meaning “to stroke or caress lovingly”. The root of the word is “flat”, which means smooth or level. When applied to language, the word “flatter” implies smoothing over any rough edges by speaking kindly or untruthfully to someone.

There are a few variations of the word “flatter” that are commonly used in English. “Flattery” is the noun form, which refers to the act of flattering or the comments made in flattery, as in “Her constant flattery of her boss quickly became tiresome.” “Flattering” is the adjective form, which is used to describe something that is meant to give a favorable impression, as in “She wore a particularly flattering dress to the party.”

While flattery can be used to manipulate or deceive others, it can also be used constructively to genuinely compliment or encourage someone. It’s important to understand the difference between sincere praise and insincere flattery in order to build genuine relationships with others, earn trust and respect, and avoid potential misunderstandings or conflicts.