Definition of amok in US English:


(also amuck)


in phrase run amok
  • Behave uncontrollably and disruptively.

    ‘stone-throwing anarchists running amok’
    figurative ‘her feelings seemed to be running amok’
    • ‘While his father ran a conservative magazine and his mother's family the local newspaper, he and his siblings terrorised the neighbourhood, running amok because their parents did not believe in discipline.’
    • ‘And what a saucy lot they were in the early Sixties with rampant double entendres and camped-up characters running amok amid the laughter.’
    • ‘You might fear some liberal president and hordes of liberals running amuck, I don't know.’
    • ‘Countries around the world are facing the problem of anarchists running amok.’
    • ‘Why is it that when a lunatic, criminal or terrorist runs amok with a gun, the media shouts ‘ban guns’, yet when an aircraft is deliberately flown into a skyscraper or a joyrider wipes out a bus queue, we never hear ‘ban aircraft and cars’.’
    • ‘But I even cut the recipe on the box in half, so that I wouldn't have thousands of waffles running amok in my kitchen.’
    • ‘‘I am probably more strict than my parents were with me, but you look around you and you see children running amok,’ he said.’
    • ‘The police won't really come out unless someone's running amuck.’
    • ‘More precisely, the film's fiction has nature running amuck as a result of toxic waste, dumped out of corporate greed.’
    • ‘But if it's the leadership itself that's doing the damage, who can stop us from running amok and finishing what they started?’
    • ‘Was it that his age was such that his hormones were running amuck, or was he deeply frustrated with his life, or did he simply try to kick the pup because he could?’
    • ‘Exploitation runs amuck as the director uses the clan to create what he considers lively entertainment.’
    • ‘The sight of a proper gentleman fuming with European rage while wearing a woman's wig and running amuck with his British coworkers as they get out of yet another pickle with the local authorities usually has me laughing.’
    • ‘This winter has been dreadful, it started out alright, I thought for a while I was immune to the colds running amok at work but just before Christmas I got whacked and really haven't been myself since.’
    • ‘Our children are now running amuck because we are not listening to them.’
    • ‘Dozens of riot police ran amok in a housing complex here on Tuesday following a minor accident involving an officer and a local resident, leaving five people wounded.’
    • ‘And before I knew it, the foam had oozed profusely, running amok outside of the can and onto my hands, clothes, shoes, and yes, even running down my leg.’
    • ‘And you see corporate crime running amuck with very limited enforcement resources.’
    • ‘Everywhere I looked, I saw spandex running amok.’
    • ‘Do staff members try to make up for the lack of rampaging aliens by occasionally running amok themselves?’
    go berserk, get out of control, rampage, run riot, riot, rush madly about, rush wildly about, go on the rampage
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Mid 17th century: via Portuguese amouco, from Malay amok ‘rushing in a frenzy’. Early use was as a noun denoting a Malay in a homicidal frenzy.