- a member of any of various North American Indian peoples who bound the skulls of their infants so as to produce a flattened forehead
- a Salish people of NW Montana that is not known to have practiced head flattening
nounpl. Flathead or Flat·heads
- a. A member of a Native American people inhabiting western Montana and northern Idaho, now located principally on Flathead Lake.b. The Salishan language of the Flathead.
- See Interior Salish.
Origin of FlatheadTranslation of French Têtes-Plates, flat heads, translation of a name used by neighboring tribes (from the fact that the Flathead did not ornamentally taper the skull as neighboring peoples did).
- Their Salishan language.
flat + head, from the practice of compressing the skull in infancy by artificial means. However, the Salish tribe never practised this custom, the confusion arising from the fact that the early traders felt compelled to adopt the local Indian classification, which considered the prevailing compressed skull of the neighbouring tribes as pointed and the naturally shaped Salish skull by contrast as flat.