run amok

Idioms & Phrases

run amok

Also, run riot or wild. Behave in a frenzied, out-of-control, or unrestrained manner. For example, I was afraid that if I left the toddler alone she would run amok and have a hard time calming down, or The weeds are running riot in the lawn, or The children were running wild in the playground. Amok comes from a Malay word for "frenzied" and was adopted into English, and at first spelled amuck, in the second half of the 1600s. Run riot dates from the early 1500s and derives from an earlier sense, that is, a hound's following an animal scent. Run wild alludes to an animal reverting to its natural, uncultivated state; its figurative use dates from the late 1700s.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: run along
Next Definition: run amuck
Words Near: run amok
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for run amok
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing run amok
More from Dictionary.com Translator
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature