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 amok rioters running amok in the streetsConditions had allowed extremism to run amok.
2 : in a murderously frenzied state

amok

adjective
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

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 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

The strong-arm techniques are in stark contrast to the days when David Cameron ran the party, and Eurosceptic rebels ran amok. The Economist, "How Britain’s staid Conservative Party became a radical insurgency," 5 Sep. 2019 The Crime Became the Basis of Film and Songs The crime resonated in pop culture, fitting into a narrative about an era popularly defined by excess and entitlement run amok. Chris Harris, PEOPLE.com, "Everything to Know About 'Preppy Murder' Case 33 Years After N.Y.C. Teen's Death in Central Park," 26 Aug. 2019 Nor is there any mention of reducing CEO compensation, which is Exhibit A for many people when discussing executive greed run amok. Los Angeles Times, "Column: CEOs say they care about customers and workers. Propaganda experts are unimpressed," 21 Aug. 2019 As a result, several busy intersections and thoroughfares were left to run amok, these highly visible areas becoming unkempt eyesores as the grass grew thigh high. Sherri Leimkuhler, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Sherri Leimkuhler: A row over the need to mow," 17 Aug. 2019 The result was a new strain of Varroa—defined as the new destructor species in 2000—which ran amok. Erik Stokstad, Science | AAAS, "Breeders toughen up bees to resist deadly mites," 25 July 2019 Anger has only swelled since Sunday’s melee, when police were accused of looking the other way as criminal syndicates ran amok. Laignee Barron / Hong Kong, Time, "Suspected 'Triad' Gangs Mark Dangerous New Phase in Hong Kong's Crisis," 23 July 2019 One group, generally older, is nervous about technology, specifically getting conked in the head by a power tailgate run amok. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Drivers will love these odd features on the 2020 Hyundai Palisade," 20 July 2019 Operation Avalanche takes a playful run at those theories, managing to be both a funny thriller and a quiet commentary on an age of skepticism and conspiracy theories run amok. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "9 terrific movies about landing on the moon, from the sublime to the ridiculous," 17 July 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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Dictionary Entries near amok

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Amomis

Statistics for amok

Last Updated

21 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for amok

The first known use of amok was in 1665

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with amok

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for amok

Spanish Central: Translation of amok

Nglish: Translation of amok for Spanish Speakers

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