Origin and Etymology of flack
First Known Use: 1939
Definition of flack
: to provide publicity : engage in press-agentry
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.
First Known Use of flack
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
Seen and Heard
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