\ ˈspük How to pronounce spook (audio) \

Definition of spook

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : ghost, specter
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

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Other Words from spook


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

Synonyms & Antonyms for spook

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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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 Early-morning light on a field blind can cast a 20-foot shadow and spook birds from a hundred yards. T. Edward Nickens, Field & Stream, "6 Hacks For Hiding Your Layout Blind," 11 Oct. 2017 There’s still time to get your spook on, or snag that perfect pumpkin. oregonlive, "5 things to do this week: Legacy of Genghis Khan, Jamelle Bouie and Howloween," 21 Oct. 2020 Even those who plan to forgo trick-or-treating can find ways to get their spook on this year. Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, "Neil Patrick Harris teases family's Halloween costumes for 2020: 'I've got a clever idea'," 21 Oct. 2020 Still, this year has been a tough one for the spook business. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, "Coronavirus is killing haunted houses, but we still have real horror stories to scare you," 15 Oct. 2020 What definitely didn’t play a role in the ship’s sinking is the infamous spook of the nearby Bermuda Triangle, whose boundaries lie in the vicinity of Bear Wreck. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Lost Ship Rediscovered After Disappearing Near Bermuda Triangle 95 Years Ago," 3 Feb. 2020 To some, every Chinese traveller is a potential spy; others dismiss fears of rampant Chinese spooks as paranoia. The Economist, "The shape-shifting threat of Chinese espionage," 21 Nov. 2019 The films, based on Ian Fleming’s novels, focused on a British spook who was impudent and resourceful, a wizard with women and weaponry, and impeccably dressed but capable of back-alley brutishness. Adam Bernstein, BostonGlobe.com, "Honor Blackman, actress who played a Bond woman in ‘Goldfinger,’ dies at 94," 7 Apr. 2020 Many are based in Western countries or their allies, and employ former spooks who learned their craft in intelligence agencies. The Economist, "Western firms should not sell spyware to tyrants," 12 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The vaccines' newness and what's still unknown about its effects spook others. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, "Why "the pathway to ending the pandemic runs through the evangelical church"," 3 Apr. 2021 Never a good thing to spook economists worried about a house of cards climate scenario. Paul Douglas, Star Tribune, "More May Than April: First Taste of Summer Arrives This Weekend," 1 Apr. 2021 The key is to actually scatter them, not just spook them. Will Brantley, Field & Stream, "Top Turkey Hunting Tactics to Try This Spring," 22 Mar. 2021 Though market sentiment can be fickle, and evidence of an uptick in new cases could spook investors once again. Trefis Team, Forbes, "CME Group Stock Is Slightly On The Pricier Side," 19 Mar. 2021 Featuring two 3000° Kelvin floodlights, the Ring Floodlight cam projects 1,800 Lumens across a wide viewing angle to spook intruders and capture HD video in the harsh light of a soft white glow. Popsci Commerce Team, Popular Science, "Best home security cameras: Our picks to help keep you (and your stuff) safe," 16 Mar. 2021 Though market sentiment can be fickle, and evidence of an uptick in new cases could spook investors once again. Trefis Team, Forbes, "Regeneron Stock Set To See Much Higher Levels," 12 Mar. 2021 Arum instructed Ali to not say a word, to not spook Wilt. Bill Dwyre, Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: Looking back at Ali vs. Frazier: 50 years since ‘The Fight of the Century’," 8 Mar. 2021 Rising yields spook a lot of investors, especially in sectors like Tech where valuations tend to be high. Jj Kinahan, Forbes, "Countdown To Payrolls: Focus Remains On Rates As Fed’s Powell Prepares To Speak," 4 Mar. 2021

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


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

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Statistics for spook

Cite this Entry

“Spook.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spook. Accessed 15 Apr. 2021.

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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)

More from Merriam-Webster on spook

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spook

Nglish: Translation of spook for Spanish Speakers

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