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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for amok
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • These unfortunates were sometimes attacked by the amok frenzy.

  • It is as well that the amok has no weapons other than his knife.

    Sjambak John Holbrook Vance
  • 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
  • Much has been written concerning the acts of homicidal mania called amuck (amok), which word in the vernacular means to attack.

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


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

    Kankanay Ceremonies C. R. Moss
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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