Wednesday, 5 January 2011

flack

v.: to provide publicity: engage in press agentry

The billionaire's ex-wife has been flacking for her juicy tell-all on all the popular talk shows.

Did You Know?

The word "flack" was first used as a noun meaning "publicity agent" in the late 1930s. According to one rumor, the word was coined in tribute to Gene Flack, a well-known movie publicist of the time. Another rumor holds that "flack" 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." We can say with confidence, however, that the verb form of the word had begun appearing in print by 1963. 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.

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This word, as well, is useful to bloggers...and Facebook or Twitter users. I was listening to the radio the other day (on my actual radio, not the internet), and they were discussing how facebook has replaced google as the most used internet site. An explanation for this was that we are lazy and don't want to look things up for ourselves, instead we would like our trusted friends and colleagues to find the interesting "news" articles for us and share them on facebook. I think that's a fairly accurate description of what is happening to our society...somehow, though, it doesn't explain all those requests to play farmville on facebook...unless you call that a "news" item as well, which might, these days, qualify as one...

1 comment:

The militant working boy said...

I know. I didn't think getting information could be any easier than typing something into a search engine. I guess it is easier if you have someone else doing it for you.