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flack (flak) noun

1. A press agent.

2. Publicity.

Verb intr.

To act as a press agent.

Verb tr.

To publicize.

[Origin unknown, possibly after Gene Flack, a publicity agent for movies.]


A variant of flak:

1. Anti-aircraft fire.

2. Strong criticism; hostile reaction.

[An acronym of German Flugzeugabwehrkanone (anti-aircraft gun), from Flugzeug (aircraft, literally flyer) + Abwehr (defense) + Kanone (gun).]

"Japan Tobacco has 75% of the Japanese cigarette market, non-U.S. rights to brands like Camel, Salem and Winston--and a $13 million investment in U.S. biotech firm Cell Genesys, now developing a lung cancer vaccine. Successful tests would entitle JT to an undisclosed royalty. The monitoring group Genewatch UK recently disclosed the three-year-old position. In Tokyo a JT flack says the Cell Genesys investment is part of his firm's `diversified business portfolio' and one that helps `meet our customers' needs.'" Janet Novack, et al., The Informer, Forbes (New York), Dec 24, 2001.

"Superintendent Jerry D. Weast took some flack for not closing the schools at particular points in the crisis. But to have closed our schools would have said that they are unessential -- a mere frill, easily forsaken." Karin Chenoweth, Thanks to Those Who Were There for Children Despite Danger, The Washington Post, Nov 7, 2002.

This week's theme: eponyms.


One of the strongest characteristics of genius is the power of lighting its own fire. -John W. Foster, clergyman (1770-1843)

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