AskDefine | Define flattop

Dictionary Definition

flat-top adj : having a flat or flattened upper surface [syn: flat-topped]flattop


1 a closely cropped haircut; usually for men [syn: crew cut]
2 a large warship that carries planes and has a long flat deck for take-offs and landings [syn: aircraft carrier, carrier, attack aircraft carrier]

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


  1. A short haircut in which the hair is brushed straight up then cut flat across the top
  2. An aircraft carrier
  3. Abbreviated form of flattop grill.


  • 1959 Jerry Keller - Here Comes Summer (lyrics)
    Well school's not so bad but the summer's better / Gives me more time to see my girl / Walk through the park beneath the shiny moon / Oh when we kiss she makes my flat top curl

Extensive Definition

''This article is about the hairstyle. For the Dick Tracy villain, Flattop Jones, see Flattop (Dick Tracy villain). For one of the many mountains, buttes, mesas, and hills of that name, see Flattop Mountain. For the type of ship sometimes called a "flattop", see aircraft carrier.''
A flattop is a type of very short hairstyle similar to the crew cut, with the exception that the hair on the top of the head is styled to deliberately stand up (typically no more than an inch or two) and is cut to be flat, resulting in a haircut that is square in shape. It is most often worn by men and boys, particularly those in the military and law enforcement in the United States.
Because of the relative difficulty of achieving a flat surface, flattops are usually cut by licensed barbers but some cosmetologists also have the skills to cut the style. The haircut is usually done with electric clippers to cut the side and back hair to or near the scalp, and then more intricate cutting is done on the top hair to achieve a level plane. When cutting a new flattop, the top hair is usually cut to about an inch long, then blow-dried to stand up straight, and then finally cut with clippers and scissors to achieve the final look. Typically, "butch wax" is used to stiffen the front of the flattop.
Because the shape of a flattop is, by definition, not compatible with the round shape of a human head, there is often a spot on the very center of the top that is buzzed shorter to achieve a flat surface, almost to the point of being shaved. This area is called the "landing strip," because this area of the head with shorter hair resembles a grassless aviation landing area.
Because the haircut is so short and quickly grows out of its precisely-cut shape, maintenance haircuts are required every few weeks, though some flattop wearers get haircuts as often as once a week.

Types of flattops

The flattop haircut was most prominent in America in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In recent years, flattops have enjoyed a revival. The haircut became popular among British youth, including some women, in the 1980s on the back of a revival of Rockabilly music in the first half of that decade.
There are several varieties of flattops. One of the longest types, the "Flattop DA" (Duck's Ass) was popular in the 1950s and 1960s and featured the hair of the sides of the head being longer and combed back. A similar hairstyle is the Japanese Punch perm, which is favored by old-school members of the yakuza (Japanese mafia). At the other end of the spectrum is the horseshoe flattop, in which all of the hair on the sides and back are completely shaved to the skin (called "whitewalls"), as is the "landing strip" on the top, leaving only a U-shaped ring of hair on the top of the head. The horseshoe flattop is related to the high and tight and is particularly popular with United States Marines and Army Rangers.
See also: Hi-top fade

Famous flattop wearers

flattop in Swedish: Helikopterplatta (frisyr)
flattop in Chinese: 平頭
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