amok, amuck
The word is normally used in the phrase to run amok/amuck, meaning ‘to run about wildly in a violent rage’, and is an extension of a particular meaning in Malay anthropology

• (Edward now wore the manic look of some animal transferred into the wrong environment, as though he might run amok, or bite —Penelope Lively, 1990).

It also has figurative uses not involving physical action

• (With Thatcher running amok through the welfare state, lobby groups are preoccupied defending what was once thought unassailable —New Scientist, 1991

• It wasn't his fault that her feelings seemed to be running amok —E. Rees, 1992).

Occasional unidiomatic uses occur

• (The place was amok with running kids with running noses —weblog, BrE 2005 [OEC]).

The spelling amok, which is closer to the original Malay amoq meaning ‘attacking in frenzy’, is more common (five times more in the OEC) and is preferable.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Amuck — A*muck ([.a]*m[u^]k ), a. & adv. [Malay amoq furious.] In a frenzied and reckless manner. [1913 Webster] {To run amuck}, to rush out in a state of frenzy, as the Malays sometimes do under the influence of bhang, and attack every one that comes in …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • amuck — (adv.) 17c., variant of AMOK (Cf. amok); treated as a muck by Dryden, Byron, etc., and defended by Fowler, who considered amok didacticism …   Etymology dictionary

  • amuck — [adv] crazily berserk, destructively, ferociously, frenziedly, in a frenzy, insanely, madly, maniacally, murderously, savagely, uncontrollably, violently, wildly; concept 401 …   New thesaurus

  • amuck — [ə muk′] n. alt. sp. of AMOK …   English World dictionary

  • amuck — /euh muk /, adv. 1. run or go amuck, a. to rush about in a murderous frenzy: The maniac ran amuck in the crowd, shooting at random. b. to rush about wildly; lose self control: When the nightclub caught fire the patrons ran amuck, blocking the… …   Universalium

  • amuck — SYN: amok (2). * * * amuck var of AMOK * * * (ə mukґ) [Malay amok] 1. amok. 2. (colloq.) wild, frenzied, or uncontrollable …   Medical dictionary

  • amuck — to run amuck …   Combinatory dictionary

  • amuck — I amok, amuck (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) adv. in a frenzied or berserk manner; running wild. See excitability. II (Roget s 3 Superthesaurus) adv. berserk, wild, violent. III (Roget s Thesaurus II) also amok adjective Out of control …   English dictionary for students

  • amuck — a•muck [[t]əˈmʌk[/t]] adj. 1) mad with murderous frenzy 2) amok 1) 3) idi run or go amuck or amok a) to rush about in a murderous frenzy b) to go or rush about wildly; be out of control Idiom …   From formal English to slang

  • amuck — var. of AMOK. * * * ↑amok variant spelling of ↑amok * * * amuck var. of amok …   Useful english dictionary

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