Richard Nixon continues to spook the nation from beyond the grave with the latest eavesdrop on taped Oval Office conversations.
Few people knew better than Orson Welles how to spook an entire country.
Authorities in Moscow claim to have arrested an American spook wearing wigs and carrying an incriminating letter.
“That spook gets snow on him, same as any human,” grinned Mac.
I'll round up this spook tonight for good, and then the vassal's task is done.
I could tell you some spook stories that would make your hair stand on end, but they are better told in the gloaming.
I made sure it was a spook, an' there wasn't a bit o' breath left in me.
But sure it must be, seeing you have a voice of your own, which is a thing never yet given to a spook.
I know it wasn't a bloomin' spook when I 'eard 'e 'adn't asked for a drink.
No, you creep around to gain the spook over to yourselves, that it may fight on your side: you woo for the ghost's favor.
1801, from Dutch spook, from Middle Dutch spooc "spook, ghost," from a common Germanic source (cf. German Spuk "ghost, apparition," Middle Low German spok "spook," Swedish spok "scarecrow," Norwegian spjok "ghost, specter," Danish spøg "joke"), of unknown origin. Possible outside connections include Lettish spigana "dragon, witch," spiganis "will o' the wisp," Lithuanian spingu, spingeti "to shine," Old Prussian spanksti "spark."
Meaning "undercover agent" is attested from 1942. The derogatory racial sense of "black person" is attested from 1940s, perhaps from notion of dark skin being difficult to see at night. Black pilots trained at Tuskegee Institute during World War II called themselves the Spookwaffe.
1867, "to walk or act like a ghost," from spook (n.). Meaning "to unnerve" is from 1935. Related: Spooked; spooking.
To put on edge; make apprehensive; frighten: ''It's the first time in my life I've ever been spooked,'' says a Byrd staffer (1935+)