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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 classic literature ?
If you flatter yourself that you are all over comfortable, and have been so a long time, then you cannot be said to be comfortable any more.
Oh, do not flatter yourself, monseigneur; if they have thus lulled your friendship and suspicions -- if things have gone so far, you will be able to undo nothing.
Don't flatter yourself, sir--but then, the main thing is, to have you with us.
You cannot possibly flatter yourself, Prince, that your summons was a welcome one.
Don't flatter yourself that I 've worn it all these years, sir; I only put it in last spring because I did n't dare to ask for one of the new ones.
Come, then," said the girl, "but do not flatter yourself that you can find no worse place than this within the territory of the therns.
Don't flatter yourself, Basil: you are not in the least like him.
So, don't flatter yourself that your secrecy's worth any price you choose to ask.
And if you flatter yourself that I don't perceive it, you are a fool; and if you think I can be consoled by sweet words, you are an idiot: and if you fancy I'll suffer unrevenged, I'll convince you of the contrary, in a very little while
Don't flatter yourself, my boy,' said he; 'she's not for such as you; she's a princess, she is, and her name is Nastasia Philipovna Barashkoff, and she lives with Totski, who wishes to get rid of her because he's growing rather old--fifty- five or so--and wants to marry a certain beauty, the loveliest woman in all Petersburg.
As much as you like to flatter yourself that your kids enjoy nothing more than spending time with you, you're probably wrong.
Lyrically, the songs are sharp and direct in their message--in Don't Flatter Yourself, Ford writes: "But you try so hard/And you talk so sweet/And you look so good/ When you pretend for me.