Professional Style

Flack vs. Flak

May 2013
Spot the Error

Drew is taking a lot of flack about his new hairstyle. To be fair, the mullet went out of style years ago.

The word flack is slang for press agent. Obviously, not correct for the “mullet” sentence above. The word flak, however, would work nicely. Flak literally refers to anti-aircraft artillery; metaphorically, it means excessive or abusive criticism. So, Drew is taking flak, not flack.

Etymological Miscellanea
Flak is actually an acronym from the German words flieger (aircraft) + abwehr (defense) + kanone (gun)—FL-A-K, flak. Why it’s not F-A-K, I don’t know … it’s a German thing. ANYWAY, to help you remember the difference between flak and flack, just think of a German dude with a mullet and give him FL-A-K.

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