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

Still, tech companies and analysts remain spooked by the continuing tech fight between the U.S. and China, and manufacturing may be shifted to avoid being caught in the crossfire. Asa Fitch, WSJ, "Trump Punches Huawei and Global Tech Firms Get a Bloody Nose," 28 June 2019 Les Bleues had won two of the last three meetings, though, and didn't appear to be spooked at all by the prospect of taking on the defending champions. Avi Creditor, SI.com, "Megan Rapinoe's Two Goals Lift USA Over France, Into World Cup Semifinals," 28 June 2019 Many of their friends and allies had fled, spooked in part by too much bad press. Christine Biederman, WIRED, "Inside Backpage.com’s Vicious Battle With the Feds," 18 June 2019 But the new security measures in Mexico had spooked her. New York Times, "Mexico’s Crackdown at Its Southern Border, Prompted by Trump, Scares Migrants From Crossing," 24 June 2019 The birds rose up and away, spooked by our noise, like a flock of guardian angels returning to base. David Quammen, National Geographic, "How one of Africa’s great parks is rebounding from war," 12 June 2019 Sketched April 8, 2019 The empty old seminary building at St. Edward State Park in Kenmore has never failed to spook me. Seattle Sketcher Gabriel Campanario, The Seattle Times, "See this spooky building at Kenmore’s St. Edward park before it’s restored and turned into a hotel," 8 Apr. 2019 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

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

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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

Comments on spook

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