\ 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

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Other Words from spook


spookish \ ˈspü-​kish How to pronounce spookish (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 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 California’s Disneyland resort has a new spook-tacular Halloween celebration this year inspired by Tim Burton’s 1993 animated musical dark fantasy. Dave Quinn, PEOPLE.com, "Disneyland Is Throwing an After-Hours Halloween Party Inspired by The Nightmare Before Christmas," 7 Aug. 2019 The group that petitioned to move Halloween to the last Saturday of October has a new proposal: Rather than change the date, why not add a whole extra day of spooks and haunts? Scottie Andrew And Brian Ries, CNN, "The people behind that Halloween petition want to create a new holiday: National Trick or Treat Day," 31 July 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb No better way to spook women than by talking too fast. Thomas Mcguane, The New Yorker, "Wide Spot," 16 Sep. 2019 Looking for even more ways to spook up your home this fall? Georgia Slater, PEOPLE.com, "Trader Joe's New Yoga Skeleton Succulents Are This Year's Spookiest New Halloween Decoration," 6 Sep. 2019 There already have been reports of people rattling the fence trying to spook the animal. Sydney Mook, Twin Cities, "Watch: Moose runs loose on University of North Dakota football field," 3 Sep. 2019 But the latest statement seems to have spooked some investors. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "Overstock.com shares tumble after CEO's cryptic comments about "Deep State"," 15 Aug. 2019 Tehran also has begun breaching nuclear limits imposed under the deal, another front in an effort to spook the West into rallying around the deal and convincing Trump to relent. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 25 July 2019 Museums don’t want to spook other big donors Nonprofit cultural institutions live or die by their fund-raising, especially in an era of declining government support for the arts. Elizabeth A. Harris, New York Times, "The Louvre Took Down the Sackler Name. Here’s Why Other Museums Probably Won’t.," 18 July 2019 That is, just weak enough to lead the Fed to talk rate cuts, but not weak enough to spook businesses. Alan Murray, Fortune, "Weak Economic Signs Spark Mini-Boom: CEO Daily," 25 June 2019 The plush toy, with its frayed-off tag and mysterious markings on its forehead, was enough to spook Jensen and her boyfriend. Alexis Shanes, USA TODAY, "When a Pennywise doll landed in woman's backyard, she says she burned it and slept with a knife," 19 Oct. 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


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

Time Traveler for spook

The first known use of spook was in 1801

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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)

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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

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something of little or no value

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