SKIP TO CONTENT

flattery

Flattery is excessive praise. If you're hoping to borrow your brother's car, be careful not to overdo it when you compliment his haircut, new shoes, and singing voice — he knows flattery when he sees it.

As opposed to real praise, flattery is insincere and almost always has an ulterior motive. The Old English root word of flatter is flater, which originally meant "to stroke with the hand or caress." When you stroke someone's ego to get what you want, you're using flattery. If the person you are wildly complimenting tells you that flattery will get you nowhere, you know it's time to back off.

Definitions of flattery
  1. noun
    excessive or insincere praise
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 4 types...
    hide 4 types...
    adulation
    servile flattery; exaggerated and hypocritical praise
    blandishment, cajolery, palaver
    flattery intended to persuade
    blarney, coaxing, soft soap, sweet talk
    flattery designed to gain favor
    puffery
    a flattering commendation (especially when used for promotional purposes)
    type of:
    accolade, compliment
    a remark (or act) expressing praise and admiration
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week