1. To behave or run around in a wild, unruly, out-of-control manner; to be crazy or chaotic. We tried to have some organized games for the kids, but as soon as they all got here they started running amok. The villagers were cleaning up debris for days after the bulls ran amok through the streets.
2. To become bad or go awry; to get out of control; to go haywire. This whole operation has run amok. I don't know how we can be expected to finish under the deadline in these conditions.
3. dated To rush around in a violent, murderous frenzy. This is the phrase's original meaning, taken from Malay. "Amok" also has an older alternative spelling, "amuck." Members of the warrior clan were known to run amok on the battlefield in a bloodthirsty frenzy.
run amokand run amuck
to go awry; to go bad; to turn bad; to go into a frenzy. (From a Malay word meaning to run wild in a violent frenzy.) Our plan ran amok. He ran amuck early in the school year and never quite got back on the track.
to act in a wild or dangerous manner There were 50 little kids running amok at the snack bar.
Also, run riot or wild . Behave in a frenzied, out-of-control, or unrestrained manner. For example, I was afraid that if I left the toddler alone she would run amok and have a hard time calming down , or The weeds are running riot in the lawn, or The children were running wild in the playground. Amok comes from a Malay word for "frenzied" and was adopted into English, and at first spelled amuck, in the second half of the 1600s. Run riot dates from the early 1500s and derives from an earlier sense, that is, a hound's following an animal scent. Run wild alludes to an animal reverting to its natural, uncultivated state; its figurative use dates from the late 1700s.
run amok(ˈrən əˈmək)
in. to go awry. (From a Malay word meaning to run wild in a violent frenzy.) Our plan ran amok.