- (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).
Origin of amok
First recorded in 1865–70, amok is from the Malay word amuk
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- a state of murderous frenzy, originally observed among Malays
- run amok to run about with or as if with a frenzied desire to kill
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]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper