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

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 How to pronounce flackery (audio) \ 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

Naturally, these fans are getting plenty of flack for getting ahead of themselves. SI.com, "Paulo Dybala’s Latest Instagram Post Has Manchester United Fans Excited," 4 Aug. 2019 Apple Maps Apple Maps gets a lot of flack from its disastrous launch and the fact that Google Maps has been so much better for so long. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "iOS 13 hands-on: dark mode, Apple Maps, Reminders, and more," 24 June 2019 In April, Katherine caught flack from an Instagram commentor when Baena wasn't included in a post in honor of National Siblings Day. Erin Jensen, USA TODAY, "Katherine Schwarzenegger's half-brother Joseph Baena sends warm wishes after wedding," 11 June 2019 Lizzo, who has been a champion of body positivity, drew some flack for the Weight Watchers ad. oregonlive.com, "Right now Lizzo is everywhere; next week she’ll be at Edgefield," 12 July 2019 In the post, Kim raved about an appetite suppressant tea from from Flat Tummy Co, and immediately caught flack for it from fans and internet users. Elly Belle, Teen Vogue, "Twitter User Wants Appetite Suppressant Lollipop Ad Taken Down," 10 July 2018 Blocks), but now the series has been getting some flack for featuring its first-ever trio, too. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "'The Voice' Sparks Controversy With Its First Trio Ever," 27 Feb. 2019 Jenner has already caught major flack on social media this year, particularly on Twitter. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kendall Jenner Discusses Why "Suffering from Acne Was Debilitating" and Promotes Skin-Positivity," 18 Jan. 2019 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

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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Statistics for flack

Last Updated

13 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for flack

The first known use of flack was in 1933

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not constant or steady

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