- antiaircraft fire, especially as experienced by the crews of combat airplanes at which the fire is directed.
- criticism; hostile reaction; abuse: Such an unpopular decision is bound to draw a lot of flak from the press.
Origin of flak
1935–40; < German Fl(ieger)a(bwehr)k(anone) antiaircraft gun, equivalent to Flieger aircraft (literally, flyer) + Abwehr defense + Kanone gun, cannon
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- anti-aircraft fire or artillery
- informal a great deal of adverse criticism
Word Origin for flak
C20: from German Fl (ieger) a (bwehr) k (anone), literally: aircraft defence gun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
1938, from German Flak, condensed from Fliegerabwehrkanone, literally "pilot warding-off cannon." Sense of "anti-aircraft fire" is 1940; metaphoric sense of "criticism" is c.1963 in American English.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper