1. Informal A ghost; a specter.
2. Slang A secret agent; a spy.
3. Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for a black person.
v. spooked, spook·ing, spooks
1. To haunt.
2. To startle and cause nervous activity in; frighten: The news spooked investors, and stock prices fell.
To become frightened and nervous.
[Dutch, from Middle Dutch spooc.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.