If you’re taking flak, chances are you’re in a bad situation and taking fire from an enemy. Flak can refer to criticism — or worse, explosive shells from an antiaircraft weapon.

Flak came into English as an abbreviation for the German word Fliegerabwehrkanone, meaning 'aircraft-defense gun.' (Yikes! No wonder they abbreviated it.) If you’re dealing with a lot of flak, you’re either in a fighter plane over enemy territory drawing shots, or you’re dealing with a volley of criticism that seems like antiaircraft fire. If you show up late for work for a third day, you’ll probably take some flak from your coworkers — they’ll take verbal shots at you.

Definitions of flak
  1. noun
    artillery designed to shoot upward at airplanes
    synonyms: ack-ack, ack-ack gun, antiaircraft, antiaircraft gun, flack, pom-pom
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    Bofors gun
    an automatic double-barreled antiaircraft gun
    type of:
    a weapon that discharges a missile at high velocity (especially from a metal tube or barrel)
  2. noun
    a slick spokesperson who can turn any criticism to the advantage of their employer
    synonyms: flack, flack catcher, flak catcher
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    type of:
    interpreter, representative, spokesperson, voice
    an advocate who represents someone else's policy or purpose
  3. noun
    intense adverse criticism
    “don't give me any flak
    synonyms: attack, blast, fire, flack
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    type of:
    criticism, unfavorable judgment
    disapproval expressed by pointing out faults or shortcomings
Word Family

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