Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[German, from Fl(ieger)a(bwehr)k(anone), aircraft-defense gun.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.

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."

    Waxy.org Links

  • 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

  • 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

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

    I'm going waaaaaaay back on my LJ

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

    Shoot me now.

  • 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

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

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

Comments

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

    June 5, 2009

  • whatever flies!

    June 5, 2009