spook

noun
\ ˈspük How to pronounce spook (audio) \

Definition of spook

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : ghost, specter
2 : an undercover agent : spy

spook

verb
spooked; spooking; spooks

Definition of spook (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

2 : to make frightened or frantic : scare especially : to startle into violent activity (such as stampeding)

intransitive verb

: to become spooked cattle spooking at shadows

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Other Words from spook

Noun

spookish \ ˈspü-​kish How to pronounce spookish (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for spook

Synonyms: Noun

agent, asset, emissary, intelligencer, mole, operative, spy, undercover

Synonyms: Verb

affright, alarm (also alarum), fright, frighten, horrify, panic, scare, scarify, shock, startle, terrify, terrorize

Antonyms: Verb

reassure

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Examples of spook in a Sentence

Noun

Russia recalled its spooks after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Halloween is the night when spooks and goblins are said to roam abroad.

Verb

The noise spooked the cat. The little girl was spooked by scary masks.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

An ’80s pop classic with just the right amount of spook. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "33 Epic Halloween Songs To Make Up For Your Last-Minute Costume," 29 Sep. 2018 Bring the spook to your Halloween dessert table with these sweet (and sticky!) decorations. Redbook Test Kitchen, Redbook, "Marshmallow Ghosts," 19 Sep. 2018 Every so often the Central Intelligence Agency uses the proviso to seize the profits of a book by an incautious ex-spook. The Economist, "Memo to White House staff: keep talking," 22 Mar. 2018 Top water bite has started early and late, try spooks, poppers, or buzz baits. Tyler Mahoney Special To The Star, kansascity, "Fishing report: Catfish action picking up in Kansas, Missouri lakes," 11 July 2018 The accusation that Corbyn might have been an asset for spooks behind the Iron Curtain was quickly embraced by top Tory politicians. William Booth, Washington Post, "Britain in a stir over accusation that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was a Cold War ‘asset’ for Czech spies," 20 Feb. 2018 Top water bite has started early and late, try spooks, poppers, or buzz baits. Tyler Mahoney Special To The Star, kansascity, "Fishing report: Catfish action picking up in Kansas, Missouri lakes," 11 July 2018 Top water bite has started early and late, try spooks, poppers, or buzz baits. Tyler Mahoney Special To The Star, kansascity, "Fishing report: Catfish action picking up in Kansas, Missouri lakes," 11 July 2018 On many of these Mrs May has responded more robustly than Tony Blair did following the fatal poisoning in 2006, with polonium, of another Russian ex-spook, Alexander Litvinenko. The Economist, "Britain’s poisoned relationship with Russia," 15 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The law was enacted after the local equestrian community argued that bikes crossing the Mariposa bridge could potentially spook a horse and endanger its rider and any nearby pedestrian. Andy Nguyen, latimes.com, "Bicyclist’s attempt to overturn Burbank ordinance fizzles out in court," 8 May 2018 Still others flee at parades, spooked by the aural nightmare of musket fire and sirens and marching bands. Billy Baker, BostonGlobe.com, "Summer fireworks season is peak time for runaway dogs," 7 July 2018 The Fourth of July brings a jump in fires and gruesome injuries and runaway pets spooked by the noise. Shelby Grad, latimes.com, "Essential California: The Fourth of July's filthy air," 4 July 2018 On Monday, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index fell sharply, ending the day down 1.4 percent, apparently spooked by signs that the growing trade war could have a negative impact on American companies. Matt Phillips, New York Times, "Stock Markets Slip on Trade Policy Fears," 25 June 2018 Clayman has also seen spouses, spooked by the current economic instability, tuck away money from their more spendy partners, stashing it in secret accounts. Blake Miller, Redbook, "Are You or Your Partner Committing Financial Infidelity?," 21 Jan. 2012 Still, matters are likely to get worse in 2019—meaning China debt worries could soon start spooking markets again. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "Chinese Overcapacity Returns to Haunt Global Industry," 10 Jan. 2019 The political uncertainty in Italy — as well the remote possibility of leaving the euro — spooked the markets when the formation of a government by the two parties appeared likely. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, "Italy’s Populist Parties Win Approval to Form Government," 31 May 2018 Italy’s economy continues to struggle; any confrontation with Brussels will spook markets and investors at a time when Rome needs to be attracting foreign capital, and lots of it. Ian Bremmer, Time, "Five Things to Know About Italy's Populist Coalition Government," 18 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spook.' 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 spook

Noun

1801, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1883, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for spook

Noun

Dutch; akin to Middle Low German spōk ghost

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Dictionary Entries near spook

spontoon

spoof

spoofer

spook

spookery

spookfish

spookism

Statistics for spook

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Time Traveler for spook

The first known use of spook was in 1801

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More Definitions for spook

spook

verb

English Language Learners Definition of spook

chiefly US, informal
: to scare or frighten (a person or animal)
: to become frightened

spook

verb
\ ˈspük How to pronounce spook (audio) \
spooked; spooking

Kids Definition of spook

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make or become frightened

spook

noun

Kids Definition of spook (Entry 2 of 2)

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More from Merriam-Webster on spook

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spook

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spook

Spanish Central: Translation of spook

Nglish: Translation of spook for Spanish Speakers

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