As flat as …

This week in the French conversation group one of the things that came up was the expression “as flat as a pancake” or the slightly ruder version, “as flat as a witch’s tit”. This was being used to describe the flatness of beer. The only equivalent we could find in French was “completement plat” (completely flat), though I’ve since found a couple of others: “plat comme une limande” (‘flat like a dab*’) [source], and “plat comme une lamelle” (‘flat like a sliver/thin slice’) [source].

Other variations of the English phrases I’ve found include “as flat as a board”, “as flat as an ironing board” and “as flat as a trencher”.

What other flat things might appear in this expression?

Are there interesting equivalents of this phrase in other languages?

*Dab = a species of small flat-fish, Pleuronectes limanda, similar to a flounder [source]

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This entry was posted in English, French, Language, Words and phrases.

8 Responses to As flat as …

  1. Jayarava says:

    In New Zealand you can just say “As flat as.”

    Also when something is good you can say “sweet as”.

    See this vid for such usages as “beached as” and “parched as”: http://youtu.be/ZdVHZwI8pcA

  2. Alan Shaw says:

    No, no, no. As COLD as a witch’s tit.
    As for flatness in English, we also say “carpenter’s dream.”

  3. Simon Fodden says:

    Well, if you don’t mind a vulgar comparison, there’s “Flatter than piss on a plate.”

  4. daydreamer says:

    In German there’s an exact equivalent to “as flat as an ironing board” = “flach wie ein Bügelbrett”, but it’s exclusively connected to the female body. (Sorry, girls, it wasn’t my idea.)
    There is also “flach wie eine Flunder” = flounder, but I haven’t heard or read that for a long time and have forgotten the context it was used.

  5. CuConnacht says:

    The only use of “witch’s tit” in a proverbial comparison that I’ve heard in US English is in “as cold as a witch’s tit.” I have read that they used to search suspected witches for warts and wens that were cold, not body temperature. The devil had made them to suck blood from the witch, and not being natural or God-made they could not be warm.

  6. Dan, ad nauseam says:

    I have heard “flat as a pancake” or “griddlecake” in English.

  7. Drabkikker says:

    The common Dutch expression is plat als een dubbeltje, “dubbeltje” being the former ten-cent coin.

  8. Kirsten says:

    My mom used to say a variation of Simon’s – “flatter than piss on a platter”. Which adds a nice rhyming effect.