Informal. a ghost; specter.
Slang. a ghostwriter.
Slang. an eccentric person.
Slang: Disparaging and Offensive. 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.

1795–1805, Americanism; < Dutch; cognate with German Spuk

spookery, noun
spookish, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To spooked
World English Dictionary
spook (spuːk)
1.  a ghost or a person suggestive of this
2.  (US), (Canadian) a spy
3.  slang (South African) any pale or colourless alcoholic spirit: spook and diesel
4.  to frighten: to spook horses; to spook a person
5.  (of a ghost) to haunt
[C19: Dutch spook, from Middle Low German spōk ghost]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1801, from Du. spook, from M.Du. spooc "spook, ghost," from a common Gmc. source (cf. Ger. Spuk "ghost, apparition," M.L.G. spok "spook," Swed. spok "scarecrow, Norw. spjok "ghost, specter," Dan. spøg "joke"), of unknown origin. Possible outside connections include Lettish spigana "dragon, witch,"
spiganis "will o' the wisp," Lith. spingu, spingeti "to shine," O.Pruss. spanksti "spark." Meaning "undercover agent" is attested from 1942. The verb is first recorded 1867 in sense of "to walk or act like a ghost;" meaning "to unnerve" is from 1935. 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. Spooky is from 1854.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Example sentences
The incident spooked potential investors, and the design never made it into
  large-scale production.
Neutrino seemed spooked by the encounter, and he put off the raft launch
And if the prospects of even higher deficits spooked the bond markets, it could
  disappear completely.
It was partly as a result that they were so easily spooked.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature