\ ˈspük How to pronounce spook (audio) \

Definition of spook

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2 : an undercover agent : spy


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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from spook


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

Synonyms & Antonyms for spook

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The apparent aims of the digital deception underscore the parallels between Russia’s campaign of disinformation and the GOP’s embrace of debunked theories that paint Trump as the victim of British spooks and deep-state saboteurs. Washington Post, "Russian disinformation network said to have helped spread smear of U.S. ambassador to Ukraine," 17 Dec. 2019 Experience the science behind the spooks with hands-on activities. Liv Martin, Twin Cities, "Carve that pumpkin and dust off your witch hat. Halloween week is upon us.," 24 Oct. 2019 Two teens got a solid spook when a hungry bear stumbled into their cabin and helped themselves to the food in the fridge, including some pints of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, "It's Wild Out There! All the Surprising Places Wild Bears Have Popped Up This Year," 22 Oct. 2019 Its spooks would remain perfectly capable of hacking networks run by Western companies. The Economist, "Huawei has made a peace offering that deserves consideration," 12 Sep. 2019 Halloween may be over, but the spooks and scares are still coming, of all places in the form of a new Netflix comedy special. Gerrad Hall, EW.com, "Comic Iliza Shlesinger is on fire in new Netflix special UnVeiled — watch the trailer," 6 Nov. 2019 New this year, digital projections by Ashley Reser and Tony Reser put extra spooks on stage. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, "‘Vampire’s Ball’: Orlando Ballet sinks its teeth into old favorite | Review," 30 Oct. 2019 Some kids cower in fear when encountering spooks and frights in the Halloween store. Ashley Hoffman, Time, "Your Halloween Hero Has Arrived. It's 'Charlie' Fighting Back Against a Rude Animatronic Spider Because He Does Not Suffer Fools," 15 Oct. 2019 There’s more spooks, spider-clowns and splattering fluids, and even 34 more minutes of terrifying adventures with Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Katie Walsh, chicagotribune.com, "‘It Chapter Two’ review: More clowning around with Pennywise and friends, less connection with the Losers Club," 3 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Envoys from Washington and Beijing are scheduled to meet later this week in their latest bid to put an end to the dispute that is stunting global economic growth and spooking markets. Yuri Kageyama, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Asian shares rise despite worries on US-China talks," 7 Oct. 2019 Scary Stories is an entertaining way to spook yourself for an hour and a half, but heavy-handed philosophizing about the power of stories does not make this one particularly intriguing. Julie Beck, The Atlantic, "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark," 23 Aug. 2019 Foreign investors have also been spooked by the geopolitical risks associated with Aramco. Aya Batrawy, SFChronicle.com, "Aramco IPO makes it world’s most valuable company, edging out Apple," 11 Dec. 2019 Investors were spooked over the summer when the streaming video giant reported second-quarter results that fell short of expectations. Chris Neiger, USA TODAY, "Sit back and relax: You can buy and hold these 3 stocks for the next 20 years," 19 Nov. 2019 Nothing says spooked and superstitious like getting rid of some soap. Charlotte Carroll, SI.com, "Georgia Grocery Store Conveniently Out of Irish Spring Soap Ahead of ND Matchup," 18 Sep. 2019 If high-tax proposals gain serious traction, that could spook investors. Russ Wiles, azcentral, "What to expect for stocks in 2020: After a hot 2019, market backdrop still looks favorable," 12 Jan. 2020 Others said the agreement will at least de-escalate the U.S.-China tariff war that has spooked investors and slowed the world economy. David Jackson, USA TODAY, "Donald Trump says he will sign 'Phase One' China trade deal on Jan. 15," 31 Dec. 2019 The ducks are spooked, but geese over water can be dumb. Phil Bourjaily, Field & Stream, "Tips for Turning Around a Late-Season Duck Hunt," 3 Dec. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of spook


1801, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1883, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for spook


Dutch; akin to Middle Low German spōk ghost

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about spook

Time Traveler for spook

Time Traveler

The first known use of spook was in 1801

See more words from the same year

Statistics for spook

Last Updated

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Spook.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spook. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for spook



English Language Learners Definition of spook

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


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

Kids Definition of spook

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make or become frightened



Kids Definition of spook (Entry 2 of 2)

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on spook

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spook

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spook

Spanish Central: Translation of spook

Nglish: Translation of spook for Spanish Speakers

Comments on spook

What made you want to look up spook? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!