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Word Curio

January 16, 2020

Word of the Day: Flack

1 CQ

Word of the Day : April 7, 2017

flack \FLACK\ verb


: to provide publicity : engage in press-agentry


The singer spent two weeks on the talk-show circuit, flacking for her new memoir.

"Celebrity endorsements for soda have been around for years.… More recently, Taylor Swift (Diet Coke), Beyonce (Pepsi) and Steve Harvey (Coke again) have flacked for soda." — Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz, The Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, IA), 18 Sept. 2015

Did You Know?

The verb flack comes from a noun flack: during the late 1930s, flack came to be used as a name for a press agent. According to one rumor, the word was coined in tribute to a well-known movie publicist of the time, Gene Flack. Another rumor holds that it derives from a similar-sounding Yiddish word for someone who talks about someone else's affairs. The editors of Merriam-Webster dictionaries remain skeptical about these claims and have listed the etymology of flack as "unknown." You may also be familiar with another flack—a noun meaning "criticism" or "opposition." This unrelated homograph stems from a misspelling of flak, a German acronym and English word for antiaircraft guns.

Aired April 7, 2017

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