A dangerous word, fat. It means large, or overweight, or — dare we say it? — even obese. If your brother has gotten fat, you might want to be tactful and call him "large-boned" instead.

Fat can be applied not just to people or animals, but to any inanimate object that is notably big. Dictionaries, for example (remember the old-fashioned printed kind?), are inevitably described as "fat tomes," or an engagement ring can be fat if the rock is big enough. In its literal sense, fat simply means flesh, a form of body tissue, and in this sense it doesn't imply anything excessive. Just be careful using it to describe certain people.

Primary Meanings of fat

a soft greasy substance occurring in organic tissue and consisting of a mixture of lipids (mostly triglycerides)
containing or composed of fat
make fat or plump
having a relatively large diameter
marked by great fruitfulness
Full Definitions of fat

n a soft greasy substance occurring in organic tissue and consisting of a mixture of lipids (mostly triglycerides)

“pizza has too much fat
show 15 types...
hide 15 types...
edible fat
oily or greasy matter making up the bulk of fatty tissue in animals and in seeds and other plant tissue
animal fat
any fat obtained from animals
cocoa butter
a yellow-white fat from cocoa beans
leaf fat, leaf lard
fat lining the abdomen and kidneys in hogs which is used to make lard
medulla, myelin, myeline
a white fatty substance that forms a medullary sheath around the axis cylinder of some nerve fibers
polyunsaturated fat
a class of fats having long carbon chains with many double bonds unsaturated with hydrogen atoms; used in some margarines; supposedly associated with low blood cholesterol
the crisp residue left after lard has been rendered
soft white semisolid fat obtained by rendering the fatty tissue of the hog
the intermixture of fat and lean in a cut of meat
fat such as butter or lard used in baked goods
hard fat around the kidneys and loins in beef and sheep
fat that exudes from meat and drips off while it is being roasted or fried
oil, vegetable oil
any of a group of liquid edible fats that are obtained from plants
bone fat
fatty matter in bones extracted with solvents or by boiling or steaming; used chiefly in candles and cheap soaps and in lubricating greases
the fatty substance of milk from which butter is made
Type of:
lipid, lipide, lipoid
an oily organic compound insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents; essential structural component of living cells (along with proteins and carbohydrates)

n a kind of body tissue containing stored fat that serves as a source of energy; it also cushions and insulates vital organs

adipose tissue, fatty tissue
show 8 types...
hide 8 types...
loose or flaccid body fat
a fatty deposit in the intima (inner lining) of an artery; can obstruct blood flow
lumpy deposits of body fat especially on women's thighs etc.
puppy fat
fat on the body of a baby or child; disappears at adolescence
mons, mons pubis, mons veneris
a mound of fatty tissue covering the pubic area in women
belly, paunch
a protruding abdomen
love handle, spare tire
excess fat around the waistline
bay window, corporation, pot, potbelly, tummy
slang for a paunch
Type of:
animal tissue
the tissue in the bodies of animals

n excess bodily weight

avoirdupois, blubber, fatness
leanness, spareness, thinness
the property of having little body fat
show 8 types...
hide 8 types...
adiposeness, adiposity, fattiness
having the property of containing fat
abdominousness, paunchiness
the bodily property of a protruding belly
greasiness, oiliness, oleaginousness
consisting of or covered with oil
corpulency, fleshiness, obesity
more than average fatness
an extreme accumulation of fat on the buttocks
adiposis, corpulence, overweight, stoutness
the property of excessive fatness
exogenous obesity
obesity caused by overeating
embonpoint, plumpness, roundness
the bodily property of being well rounded
Type of:
bodily property
an attribute of the body

adj containing or composed of fat

fat tissue”
composed of animal fat
resembling or containing or spread with butter
greasy, oily, oleaginous, sebaceous
containing an unusual amount of grease or oil
like or full of suet
(of soap) containing extra unsaponified fat
fat-free, fatless, nonfat
without fat or fat solids
calorie-free, light, lite, low-cal
having relatively few calories
skim, skimmed
used of milk and milk products from which the cream has been removed
show more antonyms...

adj having an (over)abundance of flesh

“he hadn't remembered how fat she was”
endomorphic, pyknic
having a squat and fleshy build
abdominous, paunchy, potbellied
having a large belly
swollen with fat
chubby, embonpoint, plump
sufficiently fat so as to have a pleasing fullness of figure
buxom, zaftig, zoftig
(of a female body) healthily plump and vigorous
corpulent, obese, rotund, weighty
excessively fat
double-chinned, jowly, loose-jowled
having sagging folds of flesh beneath the chin or lower jaw
dumpy, podgy, pudgy, roly-poly, tubby
short and plump
somewhat fat
fleshy, heavy, overweight
usually describes a large person who is fat but has a large frame to carry it
gross, porcine
repellently fat
portly, stout
euphemisms for `fat'
curving and somewhat round in shape rather than jagged
not thin; of a specific thickness or of relatively great extent from one surface to the opposite usually in the smallest of the three solid dimensions
lean, thin
lacking excess flesh
having a build with little fat or muscle but with long limbs
anorectic, anorexic
suffering from anorexia nervosa; pathologically thin
bony, cadaverous, emaciated, gaunt, haggard, pinched, skeletal, wasted
very thin especially from disease or hunger or cold
deep-eyed, hollow-eyed, sunken-eyed
characteristic of the bony face of a cadaver
gangling, gangly, lanky
tall and thin
lank, spindly
long and lean
having a lean and bony physique
reedlike, reedy
resembling a reed in being upright and slender
twiggy, twiglike
thin as a twig
resembling a scarecrow in being thin and ragged
boney, scraggy, scrawny, skinny, underweight, weedy
being very thin
shriveled, shrivelled, shrunken, withered, wizen, wizened
lean and wrinkled by shrinkage as from age or illness
slender, slight, slim, svelte
being of delicate or slender build
slender-waisted, slim-waisted, wasp-waisted
having a small waist
spare, trim
thin and fit
spindle-legged, spindle-shanked
having long slender legs
stringy, wiry
lean and sinewy
wisplike, wispy
thin and weak
of relatively small extent from one surface to the opposite or in cross section
show more antonyms...

v make fat or plump

fatten, fatten out, fatten up, fill out, flesh out, plump, plump out
Type of:
alter, change, modify
cause to change; make different; cause a transformation

adj having a relatively large diameter

“a fat rope”
not thin; of a specific thickness or of relatively great extent from one surface to the opposite usually in the smallest of the three solid dimensions

adj marked by great fruitfulness

“a fat land”
fertile, productive, rich
productive or conducive to producing in abundance

adj lucrative

“a nice fat job”
yielding material gain or profit

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.