Origin of flathead
- Translation 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)
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- 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.