1

amok

play
noun \ ə-ˈmək , -ˈmäk \
variants: or less commonly \ə-ˈmək\

Definition of amok

:an episode of sudden mass assault against people or objects usually by a single individual following a period of brooding that has traditionally been regarded as occurring especially in Malaysian culture but is now increasingly viewed as psychopathological behavior occurring worldwide in numerous countries and cultures

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Origin and Etymology of amok

Malay amok


2

amok

adverb
variants: or less commonly amuck

Definition of amok

1 :in a violently raging, wild, or uncontrolled manner used in the phrase run amok
  • rioters running amok in the streets
  • Conditions had allowed extremism to run amok.
2 :in a murderously frenzied state

Recent Examples of amok from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'amok.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Amok first entered English in the mid-1600s as a noun meaning "murderous frenzy." In the 16th century, visitors to Southeast Asia first reported on a psychiatric disorder known in Malay as amok. Typically, the afflicted person (usually a Malay man) attacked bystanders in a frenzy, killing everyone in sight until he collapsed or was himself killed. By the 17th century English speakers had adopted both the noun and adverb forms of amok, as well as the phrase run amok, a translation of the Malay verb mengamok. The psychopathological behavior the noun amok refers to is now recognized to occur worldwide in numerous countries and cultures. As for the adverb, time has mitigated its violent nature; nowadays it usually describes the actions of the unruly and not the murderous.

Origin and Etymology of amok

see 1amok


3

amok

adjective
variants: or less commonly amuck

Definition of amok

:possessed with or motivated by a murderous or violently uncontrollable frenzy

Origin and Etymology of amok

see 1amok


AMOK Defined for Kids

amok

adverb
variants: or amuck \ə-ˈmək, -ˈmäk\

Definition of amok for Students

:in a wild or uncontrolled manner Hint: This adverb is usually used in the phrase “run amok” or “run amuck.”

Medical Dictionary

amok

play
noun \ ə-ˈmək , -ˈmäk \
variants: also amuck play \-ˈmək\

medical Definition of amok

:an episode of sudden mass assault against people or objects usually by a single individual following a period of brooding that has traditionally been regarded as occurring especially in Malaysian culture but is now increasingly viewed as psychopathological behavior occurring worldwide in numerous countries and cultures
  • Amok is a condition in South Asian and Pacific Islander cultures when a person attacks and tries to kill others.
  • —Christopher A. Kearney and Timothy J. TrullAbnormal Psychology and Life2011
  • … research suggests that amok can and does occur in other countries, such as Laos, the Philippines, Polynesia, Papua New Guinea, Puerto Rico, and even the United States. Certain acts of random violence (e.g., school shootings and office shootings) may actually be presentations of an American version of amok.
  • —Michael Gomez, in Encyclopedia of Multicultural Psychology2006

amok

also amuck adjective or adverb


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