When you flatter someone, you praise and compliment him or her — but you aren't totally sincere. You flatter your friend by telling her she's the best driver in the world. Because you want her to offer you a ride.

The Old French flater originally meant "to stroke or caress," which is what you do to people's egos when you flatter them. When you flatter, you probably want something — it could be as simple as wanting someone to like you. That's why people who meet celebrities tell them they're the greatest. More positively, if your hairstyle flatters your face, it emphasizes your best features.

Definitions of flatter
  1. verb
    praise somewhat dishonestly
    synonyms: blandish
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    belittle, disparage, pick at
    express a negative opinion of
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    use flattering talk on somebody
    flatter in an obsequious manner
    treat gingerly or carefully
    bootlick, fawn, kotow, kowtow, suck up, toady, truckle
    try to gain favor by cringing or flattering
    brown-nose, butter up
    flatter with the intention of getting something
    court favor, court favour, curry favor, curry favour
    seek favor by fawning or flattery
    type of:
    express approval of
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