- Informal. a ghost; specter.
- Slang. a ghostwriter.
- Slang. an eccentric person.
- Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. a contemptuous term used to refer to a black person.
- Slang. an espionage agent; spy.
- to haunt; inhabit or appear in or to as a ghost or specter.
- Informal. to frighten; scare.
- Informal. to become frightened or scared: The fish spooked at any disturbance in the pool.
Origin of spook
Examples from the Web for spook
Few people knew better than Orson Welles how to spook an entire country.When Mars Attacked 75 Years Ago—And Everyone Believed It
October 29, 2013
Authorities in Moscow claim to have arrested an American spook wearing wigs and carrying an incriminating letter.American Spy Nabbed in Russia?
May 14, 2013
Richard Nixon continues to spook the nation from beyond the grave with the latest eavesdrop on taped Oval Office conversations.He's Ba-a-a-ack!
December 3, 2008
The exciting evening with the Hoag spook had worked no lasting harm.Galusha the Magnificent
Joseph C. Lincoln
I'd have given more for her if I had known she owned a spook.Frank Merriwell's Cruise
Burt L. Standish
It gets me what she was doing in that spook place alone at night.The Pony Rider Boys in Texas
Frank Gee Patchin
Here, according to report, the spook sank into a sunken grave.Watch Yourself Go By
Al. G. Field
I'll round up this spook tonight for good, and then the vassal's task is done.The Ghost Breaker
- a ghost or a person suggestive of this
- US and Canadian a spy
- Southern African slang any pale or colourless alcoholic spiritspook and diesel
- to frightento spook horses; to spook a person
- (of a ghost) to haunt
Word Origin and History for spook
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.