amok

noun
\ ə-ˈmək How to pronounce amok (audio) , -ˈmäk How to pronounce amok (audio) \
variants: or less commonly \ ə-​ˈmək How to pronounce amuck (audio) \

Definition of amok

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: 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

adverb
variants: or less commonly amuck

Definition of amok (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : in a violently raging, wild, or uncontrolled manner used in the phrase run amokrioters running amok in the streetsConditions had allowed extremism to run amok.
2 : in a murderously frenzied state
variants: or less commonly amuck

Definition of amok (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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Did You Know?

Adverb

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.

Examples of amok in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The run-amok heedlessness of our present political culture need not define its future. James Carroll, The New Yorker, "Lessons to Be Learned from the Afghanistan Papers," 12 Dec. 2019 Both their tofu and prawn amok are cooked to perfection. Kareena Gianani, National Geographic, "Explore Cambodia’s ancient stone city," 10 Sep. 2019 Bayona's sequel to Jurassic World called back to Spielberg's first film by moving the action indoors, to a mansion replete with darkened hallways that doubled (unfortunately) as prime hunting grounds for run-amok dinos. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "How the ‘Battle at Big Rock’ Short Film Sets Up a Smarter, Scarier ‘Jurassic World 3’," 16 Sep. 2019 Discover the core of Cambodia’s cuisine by learning to make amok, the traditional Khmer dish of curried fish, chicken, or beef steamed in banana leaves. Kareena Gianani, National Geographic, "Explore Cambodia’s ancient stone city," 10 Sep. 2019 Metu’s time running amok for the Spurs at Summer League appears done. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "Metu’s misfortune means missed opportunity for Spurs’ second-rounder," 12 July 2018 Determining whether my emotions are realistic or a sign of my mind running amok helps me respond appropriately. Meryl Davids Landau, Good Housekeeping, "3 Women Share the Moment They Knew They Had Depression — And How They Moved Forward," 12 June 2018 Elsewhere around the country, run-amok tax-cutting for the wealthy business elite — in other state capitals and most recently in Washington — have benefited hedge-fund managers and the barons of private equity. Will Bunch, Philly.com, "Stephen Schwarzman's billionaire lottery won't save public schools. But Oklahoma might | Will Bunch," 8 Apr. 2018 Metu’s time running amok for the Spurs at Summer League appears done. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "Metu’s misfortune means missed opportunity for Spurs’ second-rounder," 12 July 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The actual causes of the rise in homelessness in California are much more complicated than Carlson’s tidy narrative about liberal politicians and social justice warriors run amok. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Why Tucker Carlson Is Obsessed With Trash," 10 Jan. 2020 To many activists, Black Friday is the epitome of this shift, a purely commercial event designed to boost U.S. retailers ahead of the Christmas holidays, the symbol of capitalism run amok. Fox News, "Climate protesters block stores, disrupt Black Friday shopping," 30 Nov. 2019 To many activists, Black Friday is the epitome of this shift, a purely commercial event designed to boost U.S. retailers ahead of the Christmas holidays, the symbol of capitalism run amok. Fox News, "Climate protesters block stores, disrupt Black Friday shopping," 30 Nov. 2019 Some may see this as just another example of technology run amok. Laura High, The Know, "Colorado Parks & Wildlife turning to an augmented reality app to get more kids hiking," 5 Dec. 2019 In Europe, though, Black Friday drew a backlash from activists, politicians, and even consumers who criticized the US shopping phenomenon as capitalism run amok. BostonGlobe.com, "Black Friday kicks off scramble in a shorter shopping season - The Boston Globe," 1 Dec. 2019 To many activists, Black Friday is the epitome of this shift, a purely commercial event designed to boost U.S. retailers ahead of the Christmas holidays, the symbol of capitalism run amok. Fox News, "Climate protesters block stores, disrupt Black Friday shopping," 30 Nov. 2019 To French activists, Black Friday is the epitome of this shift, a purely commercial event designed to boost U.S. retailers ahead of the Christmas holidays, the symbol of capitalism run amok. CBS News, "As Black Friday goes global, some want to ban it," 29 Nov. 2019 To many activists, Black Friday is the epitome of this shift, a purely commercial event designed to boost U.S. retailers ahead of the Christmas holidays, the symbol of capitalism run amok. Washington Post, "Black Friday frenzy goes global - and not everyone’s happy," 29 Nov. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of amok

Noun

1665, in the meaning defined above

Adverb

1672, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Adjective

1944, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for amok

Noun, Adverb, and Adjective

Malay amok

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Last Updated

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Amok.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/amok. Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for amok

amok

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

Kids Definition of amok

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

amok

noun
\ ə-ˈmək How to pronounce amok (audio) , -ˈmäk How to pronounce amok (audio) \
variants: also amuck \ -​ˈmək How to pronounce amuck (audio) \

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. 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

Other Words from amok

amok also amuck adjective or adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on amok

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for amok

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with amok

Spanish Central: Translation of amok

Nglish: Translation of amok for Spanish Speakers

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