Public Services and Procurement Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional Links


Important notice

Writing Tips has been archived and won’t be updated before it is permanently deleted.

For the most up-to-date content, please consult Writing Tips Plus, which combines content from Writing Tips and The Canadian Style. And don’t forget to update your bookmarks!

To begin your search, go to the alphabetical index below and click on the first letter of the word you are searching for.

flack, flak, flak-catcher

Flak is anti-aircraft fire.

  • Pilots flying over enemy territory were in constant fear of being hit by flak.

When used figuratively, flak is also a hostile reaction.

  • When educators make controversial statements about standardized testing, they can expect a lot of flak.

The term flak-catchers was coined by the essayist Tom Wolfe to describe people whose job is to shield their boss from negative reactions.

  • The CEO of the troubled corporation appeared suddenly, surrounded by his flak-catchers.

Flack, in addition to being a variant spelling of flak, is also an informal term for a publicist.

  • The term flack for a press agent is said to have come from the name of a famous 1930’s publicist, Gene Flack.