1. (among members of certain Southeast Asian cultures) a psychic disturbance characterized by depression followed by a manic urge to murder.


  1. amuck.
  1. run/go amok. amuck(def 3).


  1. a state of murderous frenzy, originally observed among Malays


  1. run amok to run about with or as if with a frenzied desire to kill

in verbal phrase run amok first recorded 1670s, from Malay amuk “attacking furiously.” Earlier the word was used as a noun or adjective meaning “a frenzied Malay,” originally in the Portuguese form amouco or amuco.

There are some of them [the Javanese] who … go out into the streets, and kill as many persons as they meet. … These are called Amuco. [“The Book of Duarte Barbosa: An Account of the Countries Bordering on the Indian Ocean and Their Inhabitants,” c.1516, English translation]

Cf. amuck.

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