amok was our Word of the Day on 10/02/2010. Hear the podcast!
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Origin and Etymology of amok
First Known Use: 1665See Words from the same year
Definition of amok
- rioters running amok in the streets
- Conditions had allowed extremism to run amok.
Recent Examples of amok from the Web
But their favorite conservative dog whistle came through loud and clear: Political correctness run amok!
But critics, including Keen, contend Gray has sided with developers over residents, allowing growth to run amok.
Both titles run on miniatures, with large, difficult bosses controlled by decks of cards running amok.
Berlin’s book, Troublemakers, is particularly essential reading at a time when the U.S. tech industry is facing an unprecedented crisis over sexism, declining political clout, and social media platforms run amok.
His massacre was meticulously planned and executed — not a case of running amok with a gun.
The risk of letting A.I. run amok in consumer applications is the public losing trust in the technology.
Some people, such as computer scientist Ray Kurzweil and Tesla co-founder Elon Musk, have warned against the potential dangers of A.I., envisioning a Terminator-type future in which machines have run amok.
Frazzled parents unwind at the swim-up bar, while the little ones run amok in the spiffy waterpark, bowling alley, and giant sand castle equipped for sleep-overs.
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.
Synonymshelter–skelter (or amuck), berserk, berserkly, frantically, frenetically, frenziedly, harum-scarum, hectically, madly, pell-mell, wild, wildly
Related Wordsagitatedly, confusedly, crazily, desperately, feverishly, haywire, skittishly, uncontrollably; heedlessly, hotheadedly, recklessly, wantonly; chaotically, riotously, tumultuously, turbulently; aimlessly, haphazard, haphazardly, hit-or-miss, topsy-turvy
Near Antonymscalmly, collectedly, composedly, coolly (also cooly), imperturbably, peacefully, placidly, self-composedly, self-possessedly, serenely, unconcernedly; meekly, mildly, passively, tamely; methodically, orderly, systematically
AMOK Defined for Kids
Definition of amok for Students
medical Definition of amok
- 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. Trull, Abnormal Psychology and Life, 2011
- … 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 Psychology, 2006
amokalso amuck adjective or adverb
Seen and Heard
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