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
A federal appeals court on Tuesday declined to revive a lawsuit by a former aide to Gov. Scott Walker who alleged prosecutors had run amok.
Center back Eric Bailly gave United the lead on the stroke of halftime with a close-range strike at a corner, and the visitors were comfortable in the second half before running amok in the final 10 minutes.
According to one estimate, licensing requirements run amok have cost the U.S. economy as many as 2.85 million jobs and cost consumers an astounding $203 billion a year.
Do regulators in California have your back when utilities or industries run amok, or when there’s a threat to public health in your neighborhood?
The description of the school as a dangerous place where students run amok and teachers simply pass failing students from one grade to the next irked local educators and politicians.
The Lure Man-eating mermaid strippers run amok in this critically acclaimed comic horror-musical from Polish director Agnieszka Smoczynska, who brilliantly balances the musical numbers and the gory set pieces.
What's American about it: Racial strife, murder, celebrity, sexism, football, TV news run amok.
Sound designer Matt Corey supplies the freight-train roar of the hurricane, a manatee’s unnatural cry and the other signals of nature run amok.
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
Definition of amok
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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