antiaircraft fire, especially as experienced by the crews of combat airplanes at which the fire is directed.
criticism; hostile reaction; abuse: Such an unpopular decision is bound to draw a lot of flak from the press.
Also, flack.

1935–40; < German Fl(ieger)a(bwehr)k(anone) antiaircraft gun, equivalent to Flieger aircraft (literally, flyer) + Abwehr defense + Kanone gun, cannon

flack, flak.
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World English Dictionary
flak or flack (flæk)
1.  anti-aircraft fire or artillery
2.  informal a great deal of adverse criticism
[C20: from German Fl(ieger)a(bwehr)k(anone), literally: aircraft defence gun]
flack or flack
[C20: from German Fl(ieger)a(bwehr)k(anone), literally: aircraft defence gun]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1938, from Ger. Flak, acronym for Fliegerabwehrkanone "airplane defense cannon." Sense of "anti-aircraft fire" is 1940; metaphoric sense of "criticism" is c.1963 in Amer.Eng.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang Dictionary

flak definition

and flack
  1. n.
    complaints; criticism; negative feedback. (Originally referred to antiaircraft guns and the explosions and damage they caused. The first form is an initialism from German Fliegerabwehrkanonen = flyer defense cannons. I.e., the initial fl plus the first a plus the k.) : Why do I have to get all the flak for what you did?
  2. n.
    publicity; hype. : Who is going to believe this flack about being first-rate?
  3. n.
    a public relations agent or officer. : The flak made an announcement and then disappeared.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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Example sentences
The plane was still flying through a stream of flak as he reasoned it out.
Naturally it was the foreign company that took all the flak.
To be a president, they agreed, you need a fair amount of confidence and you
  have to be comfortable taking flak.
Armed police in flak vests surged into her apartment.
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