Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Antiaircraft artillery.
  • n. The bursting shells fired from such artillery.
  • n. Informal Excessive or abusive criticism.
  • n. Informal Dissension; opposition.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Ground-based anti-aircraft guns firing explosive shells.
  • n. Anti-aircraft shell fire.
  • n. Adverse criticism.
  • n. A public-relations spokesperson.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a slick spokesperson who can turn any criticism to the advantage of their employer
  • n. artillery designed to shoot upward at airplanes
  • n. intense adverse criticism

Etymologies

German, from Fl(ieger)a(bwehr)k(anone), aircraft-defense gun.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
German acronym of Fliegerabwehrkanone ("aeroplane defence cannon"). First attested 1938 as “antiaircraft gun”, 1940 as “antiaircraft fire”. Sense of “adverse criticism” attested since 1963 in American English. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • So whenever you hear some label flak claiming 98% of the bands they sign lose money for the company, substitute the phrase "just don't earn enough" for the word "lose."

    p2pnet news

  • I will note also that she has taken some flak from the left because “too many” white males were hired.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Kagan and Diversity Hiring

  • He will always face flak from the minority of introducing romance to Doctor Who.

    I'm going waaaaaaay back on my LJ

  • Also she has taken enough flak from the bias media.

    Johnston: Palin wanted to take the money, 'forget everything else'

  • Our second annual spring trip to the Upper Catch and Release Area of the Miller's River, my father caught this nice brown trout, and caught flak from the elitists because he was using the fly rod with a spinning reel and rooster tail and catching fish, while the elitist fly fishers were getting skunked all morning.

    Field & Stream

  • I've had no flak from the boobs POV because there are none to be found.

    Shoot me now.

  • Considering the flak from the left and right, I'd say Obama's got it just about right.

    Stimulus money needs to be spent faster, Dems say

  • You reveal yourself fully not when times are flush — but when the flak is heavy, and these so-called tough guys couldn't break a thumbhold from a trembling Barney Fife.

    The Ill-Served GET Served.

  • I don't mind taking flak (and if a paper endorses, or chooses not to endorse, any candidate, flak is certain to be incoming), but I wasn't part of those decisions.

    Your Right Hand Thief

  • Santa punches a button, releasing a cloud of flak from the sleigh's rear.

    Archive 2007-12-01

Comments

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  • whatever flies!

    June 5, 2009

  • Very interesting etymology from etymonline, "acronym for Fliegerabwehrkanone 'airplane defense cannon.'"

    June 5, 2009