noun (1)
\ ˈflak How to pronounce flack (audio) \

Definition of flack

 (Entry 1 of 3)

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


noun (2)

less common spelling of flak

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

Other Words from flack

Noun (1)

flackery \ ˈfla-​k(ə-​)rē How to pronounce flack (audio) \ noun

Did you know?

The verb flack comes from a noun flack: during the late 1930s, flack came to be used as a name for a press agent. 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 it 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." 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 Disney certainly has the money and likely wouldn’t encounter much flack from regulators. Abram Brown, Forbes, 14 Apr. 2022 McCandless has drawn flack in the past for holding a stake in the land where the terminal would be sited, prompting some to allege his support for the gondola was motivated by profit. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, 23 June 2022 Walmart caught the most flack recently for stocking a Juneteenth Great Value brand ice cream flavor, the label touting a trademark symbol. Michelle Garcia, NBC News, 19 June 2022 This columnist took a similar leap in this space last year, opining that the 2021 Dodgers would be the best team in baseball history, and the flack is still flyingover that one. Los Angeles Times, 4 Apr. 2022 Twitter’s board will take flack for getting outfoxed by Musk. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 18 May 2022 The previous owner Mel Morris has taken a lot of flack for the club's plight, but many of the seeds of the club's decline came from his desire to elevate the club to a higher division. Zak Garner-purkis, Forbes, 30 Apr. 2022 Hoover had taken heavy flack after local cops — not the FBI — led a raid on a 1957 gathering of mobsters in rural Apalachin, New York. Ron Grossman, Chicago Tribune, 28 Apr. 2022 After all, as Instagram’s influence increased, KUWTK caught some flack for recycling storylines that audiences had already seen online. Vogue, 22 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Consider the case of Karen Hinton, a former Cuomo aide and flack for New York City mayor Bill de Blasio. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, 10 Aug. 2021 Her job is to flack for her boss, and part of my job is to listen to complaints. Paul A. Gigot, WSJ, 13 Dec. 2020 Sebastian Rios, the journalist target of the Rangers’ rescue mission, now flacks for Homeland Security and, occasionally, nudges the lever at the back of his brain that turns him invisible. oregonlive, 26 May 2020 See More

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.

First Known Use of flack

Noun (1)

1933, in the meaning defined above


1963, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for flack

Noun (1) and Verb

origin unknown

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Cite this Entry

“Flack.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flack. Accessed 29 Sep. 2022.

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