1 of 2


: an undercover agent : spy
spookish adjective


2 of 2


spooked; spooking; spooks

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to become spooked
cattle spooking at shadows

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Taylor Swift, government spooks, and art In late 2022, Mullenweg tweeted that Tumblr app downloads were up 57–58 percent on iOS and Android. Kevin Purdy, Ars Technica, 9 Nov. 2023 Advertisement - Continue Reading Below 4 Seasonal Sweets Skip the spooks on a dessert buffet and make a sweet fall floral display surrounded by mini pumpkins instead. Alyssa Longobucco, House Beautiful, 31 July 2023 And for those truly looking for a spook, stay overnight at the Tarrytown House Estate, believed to have rooms haunted by ghosts. Rachel Chang, Travel + Leisure, 15 Aug. 2023 Why does her benign response to a throwaway sentiment about old age spook like a damning confession? Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Aug. 2023 Another source of spooks at the hotel, according to Bagans, stems from the Central School. Jose R. Gonzalez, The Arizona Republic, 15 July 2023 These mischievous, occasionally demonic, spooks of traditional Japanese folklore are known collectively as yokai. Hikari Hida, New York Times, 16 Apr. 2023 The best way to get a quick spook in before the end of the day is by lounging in your living room with a good flick. Samantha Olson, Seventeen, 12 Apr. 2023 Why not make your house a Halloween spook factory? oregonlive, 1 Oct. 2020
The group inside roars at the large animal and bangs on the glass door to spook the persistent wild animal. Kirsty Hatcher, Peoplemag, 29 Nov. 2023 This massive price drop changes their designation from also-ran to must-have, especially for anyone spooked by the decadent prices of other top-shelf noise cancelers. Parker Hall, WIRED, 28 Nov. 2023 The trail’s solitude meant Orson was less likely to get spooked and its proximity to his home territory offered a rapid retreat. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, 2 Nov. 2023 People got spooked when homicides shot up across the country during the pandemic, dominating newscasts. Danielle Paquette, Washington Post, 1 Nov. 2023 Don’t get too spooked – that’s just an animal looking back at you. Katie Liu, Discover Magazine, 26 Oct. 2023 Although Israel is not a major oil producer, escalating tensions in the oil-rich Middle East spooked investors who have already been selling off oil in recent weeks. Nicole Goodkind, CNN, 9 Oct. 2023 Recent Chinese police raids and arrests at foreign firms – and China’s use of exit bans to prevent foreigners from leaving – have spooked the international business community and other travelers. Jacob Turcotte, The Christian Science Monitor, 13 Nov. 2023 Alan Ruck has addressed the car accident that likely spooked some onlookers this Halloween. Vulture, 3 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spook.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Dutch; akin to Middle Low German spōk ghost

First Known Use


1801, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1883, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of spook was in 1801

Dictionary Entries Near spook

Cite this Entry

“Spook.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spook. Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun


2 of 2 verb
: to make or become frightened : scare

More from Merriam-Webster on spook

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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