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[uh-muhk, uh-mok] /əˈmʌk, əˈmɒk/
(among members of certain Southeast Asian cultures) a psychic disturbance characterized by depression followed by a manic urge to murder.
run / go amok. amuck (def 3).
Also, amuck.
Origin of amok
First recorded in 1865-70, amok is from the Malay word amuk Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for amok
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Much has been written concerning the acts of homicidal mania called amuck (amok), which word in the vernacular means to attack.

  • These unfortunates were sometimes attacked by the amok frenzy.

  • Adī pay, amok di anap, ut amui kayo ūnda agou un Boan tan daeda dimangamo si anap.

    Kankanay Ceremonies C. R. Moss
  • It is as well that the amok has no weapons other than his knife.

    Sjambak John Holbrook Vance
  • Such is the “amok” of the Malays—a sort of furious and imitative madness perhaps provoked at the same time by suggestion.

    The Races of Man Joseph Deniker
  • Placido was by this time under the influence of the amok, as the Malayists say.

    The Reign of Greed Jose Rizal
  • What if that man should take umbrage at some fancied slight to his honour or disregard of his affections and suddenly “amok”?

    Almayer's Folly Joseph Conrad
  • Alive, yet dead, he lay there, much as the amok Malay of fifty years before had lain upon the deck of the Silver Fleece.

    Cursed George Allan England
British Dictionary definitions for amok


/əˈmʌk; əˈmɒk/
a state of murderous frenzy, originally observed among Malays
run amok, to run about with or as if with a frenzied desire to kill
Word Origin
C17: from Malay amoq furious assault
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for amok

in verbal phrase run amok first recorded 1670s, from Malay amuk "attacking furiously." Earlier the word was used as a noun or adjective meaning "a frenzied Malay," originally in the Portuguese form amouco or amuco.

There are some of them [the Javanese] who ... go out into the streets, and kill as many persons as they meet. ... These are called Amuco. ["The Book of Duarte Barbosa: An Account of the Countries Bordering on the Indian Ocean and Their Inhabitants," c.1516, English translation]
Cf. amuck.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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