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Receive flack

Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:11 am
by Stevenloan
"Scarlett Johansson is a big action star due to her roles in The Avengers, Lucy, and Ghost in the Shell. But she’s received flack for racial issues with her projects. Lucy portrayed Asian men as predators, and Scarlett Johansson was criticized for playing what was originally an Asian character in Ghost in the Shell years later."

Hi everybody! I know the meaning of "receive" and "flack" but when they go together I have no idea what they mean. Could you please tell me?

Your answers would be greatly appreciated.


Re: Receive flack

Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:56 pm
by Erik_Kowal
This set of definitions obtained using should help to answer your question:

▸ noun: artillery designed to shoot upward at airplanes
▸ noun: intense adverse criticism
▸ noun: a slick spokesperson who can turn any criticism to the advantage of their employer

You receive flak just as you might receive criticism, praise or a bullet in the leg.

Spelling note: The American term 'flack' meaning 'spokesperson' is only ever spelled that way, in my observation.

For the other meanings, the word can also be spelled 'flak' like the original German loanword.

Re: Receive flack

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:42 pm
by Stevenloan
Erik: Thanks a lot for your answer. I really appreciate it.

Re: Receive flack

Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:25 pm
by tony h
It is an odd one that when being shot at one is "under fire" but if you are in an aircraft you "receive Flak" (or flack as people Anglicise the German spelling). FlaK is the German abbreviation for Flugabwehrkanone which is Antiaircraft guns. Anti-aircraft fire (in WWII) is not particularly accurate as it requires a lot of information on moving targets to do the calculations.

People use "receive flack over something" to indicate rather an indiscriminate attack by a number of people rather than a precise attack.

An aside.
As a child the terms Flak and AckAck sounded the same and seemed to mean the same thing but they were used differently. It was some family friend, who hadn't hung up his rank, who explained it to me.
Flak is, as above, an abbreviation for the German work for Antiaircraft fire. So flying over German held territory Allied pilots would come into contact with the German Flak.
Meanwhile during the first world war a Morse code abbreviation for Anti-Aircraft was AA (note to youngsters: text speech has been around a long time) or dot dash dot dash and this in the British Army phonetic alphabet of the time was Ack Ack - nowadays it would be Alpha Alpha.

Re: Receive flack

Posted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 12:32 pm
by Stevenloan
tony h : Thanks a lot for your post.