go amok

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go amok

1. To behave or run around in a wild, unruly, out-of-control manner; to be or become crazy or chaotic. We tried to have some organized games for the kids, but they all started going amok as soon as they got here. The villagers were cleaning up debris for days after the bulls went amok through the streets.
2. To become bad or go awry; to get out of control; to go haywire. This whole operation has gone amok. I don't know how we can be expected to finish by the deadline under these conditions.
3. dated To rush around in a violent, murderous frenzy. (Note: This is the phrase's original specific meaning, taken from Malay. "Amok" also has an older alternative spelling, "amuck.") Fueled by alcohol and cocaine, Dave went amok when his wife told him she'd been seeing someone else. Luckily, a neighbor called the police when they heard such a commotion.
See also: amok
References in periodicals archive ?
Manila: An army corporal went amok on Thursday morning inside a camp in Basilan, killing five of his comrades before being shot dead by colleagues.
Observers say government forces made up of predominantly members of the Dinka ethnic group went amok after the violence and targeted members of the Nuer ethnic group whom they suspected of supporting Riek Machar, himself a Nuer.
Bullies and relatives of inmates broke into the police station several days ago, as the prisoners inside went amok.
We were treading the cobblestone backwaters of the Rocks, touring that colorful area of Sydney hacked out of sandstone by convicts two centuries ago, when, without warning, my imagination went amok.