[ spook ]
/ spuk /
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.
verb (used with object)
to haunt; inhabit or appear in or to as a ghost or specter.
Informal. to frighten; scare.
verb (used without object)
Informal. to become frightened or scared: The fish spooked at any disturbance in the pool.
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"The Handmaid's Tale" was required reading for many of us in school. Everyone else has probably watched the very popular and addictive TV show. Do you remember this vocabulary from the book, and do you know what these terms mean?
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Origin of spook
1795–1805, Americanism; < Dutch; cognate with German Spuk
usage note for spook
When referring to a black person, the term spook dates back to the 1940s. It is used with disparaging intent and is perceived as highly insulting. Black pilots who trained at Tuskegee Institute during World War II were called the Spookwaffe. Some sources say that black pilots reclaimed this derogatory nickname as a self-referential term of pride.
OTHER WORDS FROM spookspook·er·y, nounspook·ish, adjective
Words nearby spook
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
Example sentences from the Web for spook
"I am going to 'spook' too," said the boy, and rode off on his lean pony.Through Shot and Flame|J. D. Kestell.
British Dictionary definitions for spook
/ (spuːk) informal /
a ghost or a person suggestive of this
US and Canadian a spy
Southern African slang any pale or colourless alcoholic spiritspook and diesel
verb (tr) US and Canadian
to frightento spook horses; to spook a person
(of a ghost) to haunt
Derived forms of spookspookish, adjective
Word Origin for spook
C19: Dutch spook, from Middle Low German spōk ghost
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