Definition 2024





spookish (comparative more spookish, superlative most spookish)

  1. (informal) Frightening or unnerving in the manner of something eerie or supernatural; spooky.
    • 1914, Edward Stratemeyer, Dave Porter in the Gold Fields, ch. 22:
      I hope we find some nicer spot than this. This looks so lonely and spookish.
    • 1930, H. L. Mencken, Treatise on the Gods (2006 edition), ISBN 9780801885365, pp. 174-5:
      Religion is everywhere a gauge of respectability. . . . The right to participate, however humbly, in His august and transcendental operations offers a powerful satisfaction to the will to power; the same privilege, on a smaller scale, is what takes hordes of human blanks into the Freemasons and other such spookish amalgamations of nonentities.
  2. (informal, often of a horse or other animal) Easily startled, frightened, or unnerved.
    • 1908, Sylvester Barbour, Reminiscences (2009 edition), ISBN 9781115996655, p. 26:
      In those moments thus spent in composing myself for sleep, I sometimes wondered in the last human occupant of the room were not a dead one. I was senselessly spookish about such things.
    • 2010, "Sarah $3000", (retrieved 13 July 2010):
      As a lesson horse she needs to gain confidence in her rider, or can become spookish over the jumps, dodging out of them.


  • (easily startled or frightened): skittish


  • Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., 1989.