\ ˈflak How to pronounce flak (audio) \
variants: or less commonly
plural flak also flack

Definition 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

Examples of flak in a Sentence

He caught heavy flak for his decision to oppose the new school. He took a lot of flak from the other kids for his unusual appearance.
Recent Examples on the Web Mr Schwab has taken flak for going soft on politicians, too. The Economist, "A tour of the Magic Mountain Can the World Economic Forum keep its mojo?," 16 Jan. 2020 Larry Fink has taken flak in Manhattan charitable-board circles for being a little too much of a CEO and not enough of a social activist. David L. Bahnsen, National Review, "Let’s Not Hype the Effect of Climate on the Economy," 14 Jan. 2020 The game show Jeopardy! took flak from critics after the answer to one of its questions said Bethlehem was in Israel. John Gage, Washington Examiner, "Jeopardy! attacked for saying Bethlehem is in Israel," 11 Jan. 2020 And, the biggest question of all, why, after taking so much flak over his past four turns at the podium, would Gervais want to return for a fifth? Piya Sinha-roy, The Hollywood Reporter, "Ricky Gervais, 5-Time Golden Globes Host, Has a Few More Things to Say to Hollywood," 2 Jan. 2020 In a recent interview, Gov. John Bel Edwards — who has taken flak from political opponents for ordering a modest curtailment of ITEP — said he is concerned that modular building methods could be sapping the program’s ability to create jobs. Sara Sneath, ProPublica, "Chemical Companies Are Building Their Plants Overseas and Shipping Them Back In. They Still Get State Tax Breaks.," 6 Dec. 2019 Over the past year, Anchorage officials have increasingly caught flak for the program, prompting the city to convene a working group to study the policy. Aubrey Wieber, Anchorage Daily News, "Branded a scofflaw: Those targeted by Anchorage program to recoup unpaid tickets say it’s harsh and inequitable," 26 Dec. 2019 The company also recently caught flak for running a promotion encouraging passengers to bring their dogs along for the ride. Washington Post, "Video: Harnesses trapped passengers as NYC helicopter sank," 24 Sep. 2019 The California senator has taken flak since beginning her campaign for what some activists have described as an insufficiently progressive record during her prosecutorial career, culminating with service as the state's attorney general. Fortune, "Highlights From the Third Democratic Debate," 12 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flak.' 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 flak

1938, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for flak

German, from Fliegerabwehrkanonen, from Flieger flyer + Abwehr defense + Kanonen cannons

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Statistics for flak

Last Updated

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Flak.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flak. Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for flak


How to pronounce flak (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of flak

: exploding shells that are shot at enemy aircraft from guns on the ground
informal : harsh criticism

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More from Merriam-Webster on flak

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flak

Spanish Central: Translation of flak

Nglish: Translation of flak for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flak for Arabic Speakers

Comments on flak

What made you want to look up flak? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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