spook


spook
spook (n.) 1801, from Du. spook, from M.Du. spooc "spook, ghost," from a common Germanic source (Cf. Ger. Spuk "ghost, apparition," M.L.G. spok "spook," Swed. spok "scarecrow," Norw. spjok "ghost, specter," Dan. spèg "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 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. The verb is first recorded 1867 in sense of "to walk or act like a ghost;" meaning "to unnerve" is from 1935. Related: Spooked; spooking.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • spook — spook·ery; spook·i·ly; spook·i·ness; spook·ish; spook·ism; spook·ist; spook; …   English syllables

  • spook|y — «SPOO kee», adjective, spook|i|er, spook|i|est. Informal. like a spook; suited to spooks; suggesting spooks: »... the view from the North Church belfry of the spooky and moonlit harbor (New Yorker) …   Useful english dictionary

  • Spook — (sp[=oo]k), n. [D. spook; akin to G. spuk, Sw. sp[ o]ke, Dan. sp[ o]gelse a specter, sp[ o]ge to play, sport, joke, sp[ o]g a play, joke.] 1. A spirit; a ghost; an apparition; a hobgoblin. [Written also {spuke}.] Ld. Lytton. [1913 Webster] 2.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Spook — (englisch für „Spuk“ oder „Gespenst“) ist die Bezeichnung einer deutschen Horrorpunkband, siehe The Spook einer Fantasy Reihe von Joseph Delaney, siehe Spook Reihe Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehr …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Spook — can mean: * An alternative term (Dutch, from Middle Dutch spooc) for a ghost * A colloquial term for a spy or a member of the Central Intelligence Agency * A derogatory term for a Black man * Spook (band), an Australian trip hop band * A… …   Wikipedia

  • spook — [v] frighten, scare alarm, curdle the blood*, discomfort, horrify, make one’s blood run cold*, make one’s teeth chatter*, panic, petrify, scare away, scare stiff*, scare the pants off of*, scare to death*, startle, strike terror into*, terrify,… …   New thesaurus

  • spook — informal ► NOUN 1) a ghost. 2) chiefly N. Amer. a spy. ► VERB ▪ frighten or become frightened. ORIGIN Dutch …   English terms dictionary

  • spook — ☆ spook [spo͞ok ] Informal n. [Du, akin to Ger spuk] 1. a specter; ghost 2. any person suggestive of a specter or ghost, as an eccentric, a secret agent, etc. vt. 1. to haunt (a person or place) 2. to startle, frighten, make nervous, annoy, etc.… …   English World dictionary

  • spook|er|y — «SPOO kuhr ee», noun, plural er|ies. that which is spooky or characteristic of spooks …   Useful english dictionary

  • spook|i|ly — «SPOO kuh lee», adverb. in a spooky manner: »The owl hooted spookily from the dark woods …   Useful english dictionary


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