- (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
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
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