spook

noun
\ ˈspük \

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 \ 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 news Thursday spooked investors, who sent shares of Macy’s down nearly 18%, the department store’s worst one-day decline on record. Sarah Nassauer, WSJ, "Strong Economy Can’t Save Macy’s From Retail Shifts," 10 Jan. 2019 Amazon successfully spooked the City Council out of enacting that tax earlier this year. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The tragedy of Amazon’s HQ2 selections, explained," 9 Nov. 2018 The stock market has been rocky as of late, sparking concerns that an interest rate hike might spook investors further. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Trump makes last-ditch effort to pressure the Fed ahead of interest rate meeting," 18 Dec. 2018 But what’s really spooking investors is a much more serious problem that’s been lurking in the background at Tesla for years. Russell Brandom, The Verge, "If Tesla goes up in smoke, it won’t be because Elon Musk hit a blunt," 7 Sep. 2018 Cougars in urban areas in California and elsewhere, for instance, are killing more prey but becoming spooked by human interaction and leaving the kills uneaten. Kevin Davenport, idahostatesman, "Night shift: Animals are retreating into the darkness out of fear of humans," 28 June 2018 An intensifying trade war — with the potential for pockets of painful economic fallout — is the kind of event that could spook investors. Matt Phillips, New York Times, "Stock Investors Shrug Off an Intensifying Trade War," 15 June 2018 Gelernt had argued that experts say separating children from the family causes great trauma and anxiety to children, already spooked by fleeing from their home country. Greg Moran, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Federal judge weighs request to halt ICE family separation practice," 4 May 2018 Dogs in parks increase the likelihood of dogs being spooked by children or other dogs. Jane Ford-stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Divided Greenfield parks board votes to keep status quo: No dogs in parks," 11 Apr. 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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Learn More about spook

Dictionary Entries near spook

spontoon

spoof

spoofer

spook

spookery

spookfish

spookism

Statistics for spook

Look-up Popularity

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

: to scare or frighten (a person or animal)

: to become frightened

spook

verb
\ ˈspük \
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

Comments on spook

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