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flatter (oneself)

To hold a vain, self-congratulatory, and exaggeratedly high opinion of oneself and/or one's achievements. Yeah, don't flatter yourself—she only asked you out to dinner because she wants to ask you about your brother. Gaston likes to flatter himself that he's the best man in town, but everyone knows he's just a pompous jerk.
See also: flatter

flatter to deceive

To seem better or more promising than someone or something really is. A: "I can't believe that team didn't make the playoffs after starting the season so well." B: "I guess they just flattered to deceive."
See also: deceive, flatter

flatter one's figure

Fig. [for clothing] to make one look thin or to make one's figure look better than it is. The lines of this dress really flatter your figure. The trousers had a full cut that flattered Maria's figure.
See also: figure, flatter

flatter oneself

Be gratified vainly by one's own achievement; exaggerate one's good points. For example, He flattered himself that his presentation at the sales conference was a success, or She flattered herself that she was by far the best skater at the rink. This usage is often put negatively, as in Don't flatter yourself-we haven't won the contract yet. [Late 1500s]
See also: flatter

flatter to deceive

encourage on insufficient grounds and cause disappointment.
1913 Field Two furlongs from home Maiden Erlegh looked most dangerous, but he flattered only to deceive.
See also: deceive, flatter
References in periodicals archive ?
Rather, in choosing somewhat flatteringly to label his respondents 'exiles' (p.
Using understatement, he drily and in a self-deprecatory manner describes how, after a conversation with a householder at Eyvindarmuli who "was flatteringly anxious to see" him, he overshoots his pony while saddling up: "[A]s we departed I made a bad shot at the saddle trying to mount more Islandico on the wrong side, and measured my length on the turf.
Instead, Louise Arbour is flatteringly depicted as a diminutive heroine.
And if the critic isn't disappointed, as when Brustein flatteringly mentions the "literary quality" of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, that's when a reader might really start to fear for the theatre and the nation.
But then there are sharp revelatory moments when Cassie realizes how little she knows Rona, when she hears herself perceived (not flatteringly, and yet with affectionate acceptance) as a foreign object in Rona's eyes.
The 30-second ad features the junior Senator from the Commonwealth of Kentucky talking about his father flatteringly, as most sons would.
A lot less flatteringly, they see Theresa May as "Donald Trump's friend.
An irresistible itch erupted on what is rather flatteringly called the arch on my flat right foot.
Both Nelson and helmer Alexander Payne are heartland natives with a family perspective; in this view, their galaxy of deadpan, flat-affect Cornhuskers isn't parody, but just flatteringly precise reporting.
There was still time for more, perhaps flatteringly, as Torres tucked into an open goal with seven minutes left from Hazard's pass after Ashdown had denied Lampard.
Bissonnette writes less flatteringly of meeting Vice President Joe Biden along with Obama at the headquarters of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment after the raid.
Ditto The Book of Mormon, which is hilarious and wonderful, but takes as its subject a religion that is almost flatteringly Judaic in its relegation of Jesus to the background; a pleasant, even inspired fellow, but ultimately beside the point.
And the loss of Paul Wellens and then, crucially, Michael Shenton ultimately proved decisive, as Leeds Rhinos overturned a 16-8deficit with 16minutes remaining to win, somewhat flatteringly, 32-16 following a thrilling second half.