noun \ ˈflak \
|Updated on: 30 Jul 2018

Definition of flack

: one who provides publicity; especially : press agent
  • a public relations flack


play \ˈfla-k(ə-)rē\ noun

flack was our Word of the Day on 04/07/2017. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of flack from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flack.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of flack

origin unknown




less common spelling of

1 : antiaircraft guns
2 : the bursting shells fired from flak
3 : criticism, opposition
  • She has taken a good deal of flak for espousing that view.
  • —E. J. Kahn, Jr.
  • When I was a restaurant bar manager I sometimes found myself taking flak from my customers for our high prices …
  • —Rob Hill




Definition of flack

flacked; flacking; flacks
: to act as a press agent or promoter for something
  • … Taylor Swift (Diet Coke), Beyonce (Pepsi) and Steve Harvey (Coke again) have flacked for soda.
  • —Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz
  • The director has been flacking for the up-and-coming stars in her new movie.
: to provide publicity for or promote (someone or something)
  • Since "Born to Run" was published in late September, the author has been flacking it in bookstores and theaters across the country.
  • —Casey Seiler

Did You Know?

The word flack was first used as a noun meaning "publicity agent" during the late 1930s. According to one rumor, the word was coined in tribute to a well-known movie publicist of the time, Gene Flack. Another rumor holds that flack derives from a similar-sounding Yiddish word for someone who talks about someone else's affairs. The editors of Merriam-Webster dictionaries remain skeptical about these claims and have listed the etymology of flack as "unknown." We can say with confidence, however, that the verb form of the word appeared in Maclean's in 1963. You may also be familiar with another "flack" - a noun meaning "criticism" or "opposition." This unrelated homograph stems from a misspelling of "flak," a German acronym and English word for antiaircraft guns.

Origin and Etymology of flack

see 1flack

FLACK Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of flack for English Language Learners

  • : a person whose job is to make people like or be interested in someone or something

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resembling the blue of the sky

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