Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    343
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Flat as a washboard

    Hi Everybody,

    I'd like to know what the actual meaning of "flat as a washboard" is? I watched the TV episodes, someone said "I mean, you're flat as a washboard. You look awesome." As flat as a washboard is not used to describe breasts?? How come she said you look awesome? it seems to be a good meaning....please advise...


    W

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,087
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Flat as a washboard

    Flat stomach.

  3. #3
    billmcd is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,505
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Flat as a washboard

    I wouldn't consider a washboard as being flat. It has more of a rippled surface but the speaker could be referring to abdominal muscles ("abs" in current lingo) that when they are in perfect condition, they appear to be rippled.

  4. #4
    Searching for language is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • German
      • Home Country:
      • Germany
      • Current Location:
      • Canada
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    1,036
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Flat as a washboard

    Quote Originally Posted by billmcd View Post
    I wouldn't consider a washboard as being flat. It has more of a rippled surface but the speaker could be referring to abdominal muscles ("abs" in current lingo) that when they are in perfect condition, they appear to be rippled.

    "Washboard abs" is certainly a better description than flat as a washboard, for a washboard is not flat. Whoever wrote the dialogue for that TV show has probably never seen an actual washboard!

    I am not a teacher.

  5. #5
    misiania's Avatar
    misiania is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    243
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Flat as a washboard

    You are being picky here
    I also heard the term 'flat as ironing board' - describing flat stomach. Don't forget, not everyone has visible abs. Some have flat stomach but no 'six pack'

    Not teacher.

  6. #6
    Searching for language is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • German
      • Home Country:
      • Germany
      • Current Location:
      • Canada
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    1,036
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Flat as a washboard

    I don't think I'm being picky at all. A washboard is not flat. An ironing board is.

  7. #7
    magimagicE is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    120
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Flat as a washboard

    Quote Originally Posted by Searching for language View Post
    ... A washboard is not flat. An ironing board is.
    I think that is the whole point of the phrase - you are meant to deduce that it is not flat, because to do otherwise would be ludicrous.

    Observe the following conversation:

    Person1: Schrödinger's cat, ...in a sealed box remains both alive and dead until the box is opened... Do you understand? Was it clear?

    Person2: As clear as mud.

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,087
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Flat as a washboard

    Quote Originally Posted by Searching for language View Post
    "Washboard abs" is certainly a better description than flat as a washboard, for a washboard is not flat. Whoever wrote the dialogue for that TV show has probably never seen an actual washboard!
    Quite possibly not, but I think the flatness they mean, regardless of muscle tone, is in contrast to bulging fat stomachs.

  9. #9
    Ouisch's Avatar
    Ouisch is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    4,142
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Flat as a washboard

    Traditionally, in AmE, "flat as a washboard" would be used to describe a women with small (or non-discernable) breasts. It is a common insult or taunt used by adolescent boys to tease the adolescent girls who haven't "developed" yet.

    "Washboard abs" refer to not only a flat stomach, but a very muscularly defined flat stomach, so that there are visible ridges, not unlike those found on a washboard.

  10. #10
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    15,574
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Flat as a washboard

    Quote Originally Posted by Ouisch View Post
    Traditionally, in AmE, "flat as a washboard" would be used to describe a women with small (or non-discernable) breasts. It is a common insult or taunt used by adolescent boys to tease the adolescent girls who haven't "developed" yet.
    ...
    Aha, that's it.

    I think Williamyh heard it as positive -
    Quote Originally Posted by Williamyh View Post
    Hi Everybody,

    I'd like to know what the actual meaning of "flat as a washboard" is? I watched the TV episodes, someone said "I mean, you're flat as a washboard. You look awesome." As flat as a washboard is not used to describe breasts?? How come she said you look awesome? it seems to be a good meaning....please advise...


    W
    - because from time to time (I'm not up to date with these things ) breasts both big and small are fashionable. In British culture, and I think American. Perhaps in W's culture fashionable breasts are always big; pity the women

    b

Similar Threads

  1. I choose flatly but the right answer choice has flat
    By kiranlegend in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 21-Aug-2008, 01:21
  2. [General] i got a flat tire
    By rogergm62 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 15-Aug-2008, 19:59
  3. Flat structure
    By Romel Panzer in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 13-Mar-2008, 00:36
  4. She wanted to have the flat decorated.
    By angliholic in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 14-Jan-2008, 13:51
  5. flat and demonstratives
    By mas94010 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 25-Feb-2004, 08:03

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •