Flat out


      • to do something at maximum or full speed
        To work or act with 100% effort or intensity, often in a physical sense

      • completely or entirely
        To describe something that is done with no hesitation or reservations, without holding back or leaving anything out

      • to be completely exhausted or worn out
        To describe a state of extreme fatigue or exhaustion, often from physical activity or overexertion

    Examples of Flat out

    • The athlete ran a mile flat out, breaking a new record.

      This example shows the idiom being used to indicate that the athlete ran as fast as possible and gave it their all. Flat out means with maximum effort or speed.

    • The speaker was flat out wrong in their assessment of the situation.

      In this example, the idiom is used to mean that the speaker's opinion or statement was completely incorrect.

    • The car was running flat out on the highway.

      This example shows the idiom used to indicate that the car was traveling at the highest possible speed.

    • The doctor told the patient to get plenty of rest and avoid any strenuous activities, flat out.

      In this example, the idiom is being used to emphasize the importance or seriousness of the doctor's instructions. Flat out means without any exceptions or exceptions.

    • She refused the offer flat out.

      This idiom is commonly used to indicate a resolute and unyielding refusal. The speaker is emphasizing that the person being talked about rejected the offer absolutely and without hesitation.

    • The chef presented the dish flat out, after weeks of preparation.

      Here, the idiom is being used to signify that the dish was presented with confidence and unreservedly, as if it were a finished masterpiece that was ready to be served to customers.

    • The new software failed flat out during the test run.

      In this context, the idiom signifies that the software did not perform at all or function properly during the test, failing completely and utterly.

    • The athlete trained flat out, determined to break the record.

      This idiom implies that the athlete trained with absolute focus and determination, giving their maximum effort to achieve their goal of breaking the record.


    The idiom "flat out" has three main meanings, all related to aspects of speed, effort, or exhaustion. The first meaning is to do something at maximum or full speed, often in a physical sense. This can refer to working hard, running or moving quickly, or acting with great intensity. The second meaning is to do something completely or entirely, without holding back. This could refer to giving something your all, being completely committed, or leaving nothing undone. The third meaning is to be completely exhausted or worn out, usually from physical activity. This can also be used to describe a state of being completely spent or drained, mentally or emotionally.

    Origin of "Flat out"

    The origin of the idiom "flat out" is thought to come from the literal meaning of the phrase, which dates back to around the 1500s. Originally, it was used to describe something that was completely flat, without any curves or bumps. Over time, the phrase was also used to describe something that was done with great speed and intensity, as if moving in a straight line. This evolved into the modern meaning of "working at full speed" or "giving your all."

    Another theory suggests that the idiom may have originated from horse racing, where horses would run "flat out" or at their maximum speed on a flat track. This usage then transferred to other activities and tasks that require maximum effort or speed.

    Some examples of the idiom "flat out" in use can be found in literature and media, such as in Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" where the character Huck says, "We said there warn't no home like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don't. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft." This could be interpreted as the second meaning of "completely or entirely." In modern times, the idiom is used in a variety of contexts, from describing someone who is working "flat out" on a project to someone who is "flat out" exhausted after a long day.