noun (1)
\ ˈflak \

Definition of flack

 (Entry 1 of 3)

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


noun (2)

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


flacked; flacking; flacks

Definition of flack (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

: 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.

transitive verb

: 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

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Other Words from flack

Noun (1)

flackery \ ˈfla-​k(ə-​)rē \ noun

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.

Examples of flack in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Young people get a lot of flack these days, for killing mayonnaise and golf and lots of other things. Casey Newton, The Verge, "How China complicates Apple’s chest-thumping about privacy," 25 Oct. 2018 But despite Dunham and Konner's previous success with Girls, Camping has been met with flack from critics and the Twitterverse alike. Jennifer Lance, Glamour, "People Are Calling Jennifer Garner 'Unlikable' in Camping—But That's Missing the Point," 17 Oct. 2018 Some people still give them flack, but others can’t thank them enough. Sarah Weinberg, House Beautiful, "What It's like To Live in A Famous "Fixer Upper" House," 9 Aug. 2018 Even though the contest video is really cute, Miracle Whip is quite understandablygetting some flack for this ad campaign. Ellie Delano, Woman's Day, "The Miracle Whip Contest That Can Pay For Your Divorce," 20 July 2011 BBC Copyright Debacle Google is taking a lot of flack for opposing a major copyright reform in the EU. Alan Murray, Fortune, "Trump's Trade Fallout, Tech Hit, China Bear Market: CEO Daily for June 26, 2018," 26 June 2018 Reed caught flack for the trip’s overall $90,000 price tag and promised to find nongovernmental funds to pay the $40,000 difference between coach and business-class airfare. J. Scott Trubey, ajc, "Kasim Reed’s South Africa trip probe restarts after concerns about cost," 3 July 2018 Despite this transparency, Uber still got flack for refusing to release the full report commissioned in the wake of Fowler’s memo. Jessi Hempel, WIRED, "The Rise And Fall of Uber HR Chief Liane Hornsey," 11 July 2018 His decision to use models such as Billie Blair, Alva Chinn, China Machado, Jennifer Brice, Pat Cleveland, Bethann Hardison, and Ramona Saunders caught him flack with the press, including pushback from his own clients. refinery29.com, "A Jolt Of Diversity At Haute Couture — & Why It Matters," 6 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of flack

Noun (1)

1933, in the meaning defined above


1963, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for flack

Noun (1) and Verb

origin unknown

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Time Traveler for flack

The first known use of flack was in 1933

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English Language Learners Definition of flack

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

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tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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