[uh-muhk, uh-mok]


(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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for amoks


amuck (əˈmʌk)


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 for amok

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

Word Origin and History for amoks



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