adjective, fat·ter, fat·test.

  1. having too much flabby tissue; corpulent; obese: a fat person.
  2. plump; well-fed: a good, fat chicken.
  3. consisting of or containing fat; greasy; oily: fat gravy; fat meat.
  4. profitable, as an office: a fat job on the city commission.
  5. affording good opportunities, especially for gain: a fat business contract.
  6. wealthy; prosperous; rich: He grew fat on dishonest profits.
  7. big, broad, or extended; thick: a fat sheaf of bills.
  8. plentiful; abundant: a fat supply of food.
  9. plentifully supplied: a fat larder; a fat feast.
  10. dull; stupid: fat clumsiness of manner.
  11. abounding in a particular element: Fat pine is rich in resin.
  12. (of paint) having more oil than pigment.Compare lean2(def 6).
  13. (of coal) highly bituminous; rich in volatile hydrocarbons.
  14. Ceramics. long1(def 25).
  15. fertile, as land: Everything grows in this fat soil.


  1. any of several white or yellowish greasy substances, forming the chief part of adipose tissue of animals and also occurring in plants, that when pure are colorless, odorless, and tasteless and are either solid or liquid esters of glycerol with fatty acids; fats are insoluble in water or cold alcohol but soluble in ether, chloroform, or benzene: used in the manufacture of soap, paints, and other protective coatings and in cooking.
  2. animal tissue containing much of this substance; loose flesh; flabbiness: to have rolls of fat around one’s waist.
  3. the richest or best part of anything.
  4. obesity; corpulence: In his later years, he inclined to fat.
  5. Slang. especially profitable or advantageous work.
  6. an overabundance or excess; superfluity.
  7. action or lines in a dramatic part that permit an actor to display abilities.
  8. Also phat. Also called lift. Typesetting. matter that can be composed easily and profitably, especially from standing type, illustrations, or the like: fat work.Compare lean2(def 11).

verb (used with or without object), fat·ted, fat·ting.

  1. to make or become fat.

  1. a fat chance, Slang. a very slight chance; small probability: A fat chance he has of winning the title!
  2. a fat lot, Slang. little or not at all: A fat lot they care about anyone else’s troubles!
  3. chew the fat. chew(def 11).
  4. the fat is in the fire,
    1. an irrevocable action or chain of events has been started; the die is cast: Now that they have been given an ultimatum, the fat is in the fire.
    2. the decision, whether good or bad, has been made.
    3. the crisis is imminent.
  5. the fat of the land, the best or richest of anything obtainable: to live on the fat of the land.


  1. any of a class of naturally occurring soft greasy solids that are esters of glycerol and certain fatty acids. They are present in some plants and in the adipose tissue of animals, forming a reserve energy source, and are used in making soap and paint and in the food industrySee also oil (def. 1)
  2. vegetable or animal tissue containing fatRelated adjectives: adipose, lipoid, stearic
  3. corpulence, obesity, or plumpness
  4. the best or richest part of something
  5. a part in a play that gives an actor a good opportunity to show his talents
  6. chew the fat slang
    1. to argue over a point
    2. to talk idly; gossip
  7. the fat is in the fire an irrevocable action has been taken, esp one from which dire consequences are expected
  8. the fat of the land the best that is obtainable

adjective fatter or fattest

  1. having much or too much flesh or fat
  2. consisting of or containing fat; greasyfat pork
  3. profitable; lucrativea fat year
  4. affording great opportunitiesa fat part in the play
  5. fertile or productivea fat land
  6. thick, broad, or extendeda fat log of wood
  7. having a high content of a particular material or ingredient, such as resin in wood or oil in paint
  8. plentifully supplieda fat larder
  9. slang empty; stupidget this into your fat head
  10. slang very little or none; minimal (in phrases such as a fat chance, a fat lot of good, etc)

verb fats, fatting or fatted

  1. to make or become fat; fatten

Old English fætt “fat, fatted, plump, obese,” originally a contracted past participle of fættian “to cram, stuff,” from Proto-Germanic *faitaz “fat” (cf. Old Frisian fatt, Old Norse feitr, Dutch vet, German feist), from PIE *poid- “to abound in water, milk, fat, etc.” (cf. Greek piduein “to gush forth”), from root *peie- “to be fat, swell” (cf. Sanskrit payate “swells, exuberates,” pituh “juice, sap, resin;” Lithuanian pienas “milk;” Greek pion “fat, wealthy;” Latin pinguis “fat”).

Teen slang meaning “attractive, up to date” (also later phat) is attested from 1951. Fat cat “privileged and rich person” is from 1928; fat chance “no chance at all” attested from 1906. Fathead is from 1842; fat-witted is from 1590s; fatso is first recorded 1944. Expression the fat is in the fire originally meant “the plan has failed” (1560s).


mid-14c.; see fat (v.). Figurative sense of “best or most rewarding part” is from 1560s.


  1. Any of various soft, solid, or semisolid organic compounds constituting the esters of glycerol and fatty acids and their associated organic groups.
  2. A mixture of such compounds occurring widely in organic tissue, especially in the adipose tissue of animals and in the seeds, nuts, and fruits of plants.
  3. Adipose tissue.
  4. Obesity; corpulence.

  1. Any of a large number of oily compounds that are widely found in plant and animal tissues and serve mainly as a reserve source of energy. In mammals, fat, or adipose tissue, is deposited beneath the skin and around the internal organs, where it also protects and insulates against heat loss. Fat is a necessary, efficient source of energy. An ounce of fat contains more than twice as much stored energy as does an ounce of protein or carbohydrates and is digested more slowly, resulting in the sensation of satiety after eating. It also enhances the taste, aroma, and texture of food. Fats are made chiefly of triglycerides, each molecule of which contains three fatty acids. Dietary fat supplies humans with essential fatty acids, such as linoleic acid and linolenic acid. Fat also regulates cholesterol metabolism and is a precursor of prostaglandins. See more at saturated fat unsaturated fat.

In addition to the idioms beginning with fat

  • fat cat
  • fat chance
  • fat city
  • fate worse than death, a
  • fat farm
  • fat is in the fire, the
  • fat lot
  • fat of the land, the

also see:

  • chew the fat
  • kill the fatted calf
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