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Before You Use the Word 'Spooky' You Should Know Its Racist Origins

With all the skeletons, witch hats and spider webs decorating homes and stores across the nation during Halloween—not to mention the plethora of horror movies widely available during the month of October—it seems fitting to call it "spooky" season.

However, there are connotations associated with the word "spooky" that are much more horrifying than the ghosts to which the term usually refers.

According to Merriam-Webster , the word "spooky" is defined as, "relating to, resembling or suggesting spooks." A further break-down of "spook" gives way to the meaning, "ghost, specter" or "an undercover agent: spy." But the Dutch word describing apparitions, which first came into use around the 19th century, took on a more sinister meaning around World War II, when white American soldiers started referring to their Black counterparts as "spooks."

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Originally, pilots of the Tuskegee Institute—derived of the first Black military aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps—were called the "Spookwaffe"—a play on the German term "waffe," which means weapon or gun. When airmen returned from their posts with the nickname, white Americans caught wind of the name and began linking the term "spook" to blackness, thus resulting in the word transitioning into a racial slur and its derogatory use.

Author Sam Greenlee did attempt to revive the word's initial definition with his 1969 book The Spook Who Sat By the Door, which was later turned into a feature film in 1973. The plot follows the fictional story of the first Black CIA agent Lawrence Cook, and the reference of the word "spook" serves as a reference to the fact that he is a spy, although the term is also used in a racially offensive way by those who Lawrence encounters throughout the book and movie.

Over the years, people have increasingly used the word to describe moments of feeling frightened. However, there have been times when organizations and individuals have come under fire for using the word.

The Meaning of 'Spooky'

Back in 2018, an elementary school in North Carolina came under fire when a student came home with new vocabulary words to memorize—"spook" and "gook," the latter of which is an offensive term to people of East and Southeast Asian descent. That same year, the Houston Museum of Natural Science had to issue an apology to its members after a mass email was sent with the subject line: "Party With Spooks."

Even Target has faced backlash for using the word. The retailer was forced to remove a toy dubbed " Spook Drop Parachuters " from its shelves and inventory after people complained of its racist meaning in 2010.

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When Did This Time of Year Become “Spooky Season”?

The elusive history of a cursed phrase..

Quick question: What time of year is it right now? For me, “fall” would probably be the first thing to come to mind, but there are several other perfectly acceptable responses: autumn , October, Halloween, perhaps Q4, if you swing that way.

I would even begrudgingly take cuffing season . Just about any answer would by fine by me except for one: “spooky season.”

Until a few weeks ago, I didn’t know what spooky season was (and my life was arguably better for it). If I saw the combination of words spooky season , I would have been able to gather that it referred to Halloween, but I also would have thought it was the sort of unremarkable alliterative phrase a bunch of people might have arrived at independently, perhaps because they were decorating a bulletin board in an elementary school or needed an Instagram caption but considered themselves too special to say something normal like “Happy Halloween!”

But no, spooky season is a more specific expression and concept that has propagated across the internet in recent years. Perhaps you, more observant than I, have noticed it in your feeds. A typical usage might be something like what Jennifer Garner posted earlier this month on Instagram , a video of a ballet dancer wearing a full-body black leotard and a fake jack-o’-lantern on her head. It had the following caption: “It me. (It’s definitely not me but I appreciate a ballerina/spookyszn mashup.)”

“In the last year or two, it’s kind of become a phrase that I see all over the place that everybody uses,” said Miranda Enzor, a Halloween enthusiast who for the past six years has run a website called Spooky Little Halloween .

There isn’t broad consensus about when spooky season begins. “To me it really starts ramping up even as early as mid-July,” Enzor told me, alarmingly. “I kind of personally count the beginning of what I would term spooky season as July 23 rd , which is the 100-day mark to Halloween. Once I hit that, I’m in Halloween season and there’s no turning back.”

Which brings us to: What is it exactly? In 2019, Architectural Digest described the so-called season as a sort of rebrand of Halloween that both extends the holiday and harks back to “the Halloweens of our childhoods”: a time when millennials can watch Hocus Pocus and decorate their homes with fake spiderwebs.

But it’s not just for millennials. Caitlynn Sant, a 21-year-old preschool teacher in Utah, runs a popular Halloween-themed Instagram page and explained spooky season to me like this: “I just think of fall and pumpkins. To me, I guess spooky season’s just the time when you can watch scary movies and do scary things.”

It has been emphasized to me that spooky season is a time to indulge in the campier aspects of Halloween, and it’s not limited to just one day. Christmas has “the holiday season,” and this is just that but for Halloween. This is all fine, as far as I’m concerned. I just have trouble understanding why it’s different enough from good old Halloween to require its own annoying name. Does all of this pumpkin patch frolicking and haunted house visiting not fall under the banner of Halloween, or, if you must, since apparently it’s such a gas to invent new seasons (or szns) , the “Halloween season”?

I know I should let this go: It’s silly, but it’s also harmless, so who cares? No one likes a Halloween grinch. Except, well, I’m fine with Halloween—it’s spooky season that’s the problem. How did Halloween, which has been celebrated for hundreds of years, suddenly morph into spooky season? Why is everyone but me, up to and including Jennifer Garner, now going around talking about “spooky season” with a straight face?

Researching the provenance of the term is a little difficult because, to return to the elementary-school bulletin-board factor, it’s a phrase that anyone could come up with on their own, and has. You can find uses of spooky season in newspapers going as far back as 1905 , but they don’t mean spooky season the way it gets used today. Spooky season seems to have acquired its current, internet-driven meaning in the past five years or so. Amanda Brennan, a meme librarian and trend expert at the digital marketing agency XX Artists, told me via email, “It looks like ‘spooky season’ was being used by niche crowds in 2017 globally, saw some pickup in 2018, and hit peak search interest in 2019.” It’s continued to be a popular search term since, though it’s presumably been impeded at times by the pandemic.

No one really knows exactly where it came from, or what caused its rise in popularity. There are theories, of course. But if spooky season has a patient zero, I was not able to identify that person (or ghoul). It appears to be a grassroots, or graveyard-roots, phenomenon.

“It’s definitely gotten bigger and bigger,” Enzor said. “I think Instagram has been a huge catalyst for that.

“The word spooky kind of sums up what I love about Halloween,” she added. “I’m not so much on the horror, blood, and guts side. I just love the magical, cutesy, slightly creepy feel that the word spooky invokes for me.”

Indeed, Mike Wilton, who runs a Halloween news site called All Hallows Geek , guessed that a big part of it might just be the word spooky : “I think the word spooky and even the word spoopy , piggybacking off of that, has seemed to be used a bit more in the vernacular overall over the last few years, and I’m wondering if that’s where it came from.” He may be on to something: In 2018, the Washington Post published a piece about how “spooky culture” was powering the internet’s celebration of Halloween, which already happens to fall in what is considered the most meme-able of seasons .

(Also: spoopy ?? Apparently it’s another building block in all of this I had been sleeping on : Merriam-Webster has called it a “new Halloween classic” and explained that “the word is used to describe something that typically would be spooky, like an image of a skeleton or ghost, but is actually rather comical.”)

Spookiness is a cultural trend as well as a language one: “As more alternative aesthetics come into the mainstream, ‘spooky’ and ‘witch’ as an aesthetic has definitely seen a rise in popularity, which is reflected in media like The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina , The Craft , and Charmed reboots, etc.,” Brennan told me.

After carefully researching all of this, I’ve come to my own conclusion: As “Disney adult” as it sounds to my ears, people simply get a kick out of saying spooky season . And that’s what baffles me most of all. I can tell that spooky season adherents delight in using the phrase, and when they do, half the time they’re probably picturing it surrounded by cute tildes: ~spooky szn~. At best I can see how this is vaguely, uh, whimsical, but it seems unique as an internet joke in that I keep looking and failing to find what is so fun or funny about it; it’s like a joke where they left out the joke. Even mischievous online lingo that is now considered lame— “doggos” and “puppers” come to mind—was at one point in its life cycle sort of amusing. But spooky season ? I just don’t get it, and I think maybe that’s because there’s no “it” to get.

Alas, it’s too late to stop its spread now. Capitalism has seized on spooky season. “I have seen it showing up in more marketing communications,” Wilton told me, remembering a recent press release he got from Baskin-Robbins touting their spooky season offerings. It fits in with a larger trend: “From a marketing standpoint, the corporate world’s trying to capitalize on Halloween longer and more if they can,” he said. In a quick search of my own inbox, I found that I’ve received 10 pitches from publicists containing the phrase spooky season this year, up from four in 2020 and two in 2019. If common decency can’t kill spooky season, maybe I can count on brands to run it into the ground. I have to say, picturing its death—can’t you just see it, a tombstone in a cemetery marked “Here lies spooky season”?—might be the thing that finally gets me in the holiday spirit.

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Here’s what Tropical Storm Ophelia will mean for the D.C. area

Expect heavy, wind-swept rain, strong winds and flooding, especially near the potomac and chesapeake bay this weekend.

spooky area meaning

* Wind advisory for much of region 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday | Tropical storm warning for St. Mary’s and Calvert counties *

Saturday is not your day for outdoor plans in the D.C. area, and Sunday may not be great either.

There is high confidence that Tropical Storm Ophelia will bring a prolonged period with waves of moderate to heavy rain and strong, gusty winds Friday night through Saturday night, although a decrease in the rain is possible late Saturday morning into early afternoon.

Moderate rain could continue into Sunday morning, tapering off by Sunday afternoon.

This won’t be a crippling storm for the D.C. region, but it could make for dangerous driving conditions during the periods of heaviest wind-swept rain, and there could be spotty downed trees and scattered power outages. The heavy rain will loosen soils, meaning tree roots will gradually become less anchored to the ground.

Conditions may be most turbulent across the region late Saturday afternoon into the night.

Because it has been rather dry lately, widespread flooding because of heavy rainfall is not expected, but localized flooding could occur in areas of poor drainage and near small streams. Areas that typically flood during heavy rain are most vulnerable.

Coastal flooding is a more serious concern for areas along the Tidal Potomac and shores of the Chesapeake Bay as the storm pushes a surge of water northward. This is especially true near high tide. Areas that typically flood during major coastal storms, including Old Town Alexandria, Southwest Washington, Annapolis and Baltimore, are at risk.

In Virginia, Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) declared a state of emergency to activate its emergency support team.

“We want to ensure that all communities, particularly those with the greatest anticipated impact, have the resources they need to respond and recover from the effects of this storm,” Youngkin said in a statement.

Storm timeline

  • Friday 8 p.m. to midnight: Light rain arrives from south to north. Winds 15-20 mph, gusts to near 30 mph. Confidence: Medium-High
  • Saturday 12 a.m. to 9 a.m.: Periods of moderate to heavy rain. Winds 20-25 mph, gusts to 30-35 mph. Confidence: Medium-High
  • Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Steady rain, or just occasional lighter showers? Winds 20-25 mph, gusts to 30-35 mph. Confidence: Low-Medium
  • Saturday 2 p.m. to Sunday 5 a.m.: Periods of moderate to heavy rain. Winds 20-30 mph, gusts to 30-45 mph. Confidence: Medium-High
  • Sunday 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. Occasional light to moderate showers possible. Winds 10-20 mph, gusts to 20-30 mph. Confidence: Medium

It will be cool and raw both Saturday and Sunday, with high temperatures in the upper 50s to mid-60s.

Some thunder could accompany waves of heavy rain Saturday afternoon and night, especially south and east of Washington. There’s an outside chance of a couple brief tornadoes in Southern Maryland and Virginia’s Northern Neck, embedded within areas of heavy rain.

Rainfall forecast

Light rain should move into the area Friday evening from south to north, with periods of moderate to heavy rain after midnight. The most uncertain portion of the forecast is late Saturday morning into early afternoon. That’s when we could see a period of lighter rain or even some breaks due to temporarily drier air. More waves of moderate to heavy rain are likely from midafternoon Saturday through late Saturday night. Lighter showers could linger at times on Sunday.

Rainfall totals of 1.5 to 4 inches are likely with localized amounts up to around 5 inches; the highest totals are probable south and east of Washington. Here are the rainfall amounts predicted by various models:

  • American (GFS): 1.2 inches
  • German (ICON): 1.56 inches
  • European (ECMWF): 1.86 inches
  • Canadian (GEM): 2.3 inches
  • NAM and high-resolution NAM: 2.5 inches
  • High-resolution Canadian (RGEM): 2.67 inches

Wind forecast

The breeze starts to pick up Friday evening with gusts near 30 mph, increasing to near 35 mph overnight through midday Saturday. The strongest winds should blow Saturday afternoon and night.

In the immediate D.C. area, winds during that time should be sustained at 20-30 mph with gusts near 40-45 mph. They’ll be stronger in our eastern counties adjacent to the Chesapeake Bay, sustained at 25-35 mph with gusts near 45-55 mph. And weaker in our western counties (Loudoun, Fauquier and points west), sustained at 15-25 mph with gusts near 35 mph.

“Gusty winds and a saturated ground may cause downed trees and power outages, especially along the immediate western shoreline of Maryland,” the National Weather Service wrote.

Flooding potential

The rain shouldn’t be heavy enough to cause widespread flooding, especially because much of the region is in a drought or at least running below normal for precipitation. “However, the typical more vulnerable urbanized areas as well as quick responding creeks and small streams could see some flooding,” the Weather Service said.

It’s a different story for shoreline locations including Old Town Alexandria, the Southwest Waterfront and Annapolis, where minor flooding is likely, and moderate flooding is possible, due to an extended period of onshore winds from the northeast that is likely to push tides 1 to 3 feet higher than normal. Tidal sites in Southern Maryland, especially in St. Mary’s County, could see “moderate to even major flood stages during the day on Saturday and into early Sunday,” the Weather Service said.

Here are the times of high tide:

  • Old Town Alexandria: Saturday 2:20 a.m. and 3:13 p.m.; Sunday 3:30 a.m.
  • Southwest Waterfront: Saturday 2:19 a.m. and 3:04 p.m.; Sunday 3:27 a.m.
  • Annapolis: Saturday 12:09 a.m. and 11:04 a.m.; Sunday 1:13 a.m.
  • Baltimore Inner Harbor: Saturday 1:15 a.m. and 1:11 p.m.; Sunday 2:17 a.m.

Jason Samenow contributed to this report.

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This Halloween: What Does It Mean To Call Something 'Spooky'?


Leah Donnella

spooky area meaning

A runner passes a ghostly sculpture on display between Bondi Beach and Tamarama Beach in Sydney. Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

A runner passes a ghostly sculpture on display between Bondi Beach and Tamarama Beach in Sydney.

So, you're at your friend's elaborately decorated Halloween party. There are cobwebs hanging from the ceiling, bloody handprints on the wall, a frothing potion brewing on the stove. It's creepy! And scary! But is it ... spooky?

Sure, "spook" can refer to a ghost. It can refer to a spy. But as many of us know, it's also, sometimes, a racial slur for black people. One of our Ask Code Switch readers wrote in to ask about the etiquette of using words like spook and spooky.

During this, the season of murder mysteries and haunted hayrides, is it insensitive to say that you were spooked?

On Halloween, Insensitivity Goes Beyond Kimonos And Black Face

On Halloween, Insensitivity Goes Beyond Kimonos And Black Face

So here's the deal: Spook comes from the Dutch word for apparition, or specter. The noun was first used in English around the turn of the nineteenth century. Over the next few decades, it developed other forms, like spooky, spookish, and of course, the verb, to spook.

From there, it seems, the word lived a relatively innocuous life for many years, existing in the liminal space between surprise and mild fear.

It wasn't until World War II that spook started to refer to black people . The black Army pilots who trained at the Tuskegee Institute were referred to as the "Spookwaffe" — waffe being the German word for weapon, or gun. (Luftwaffe was the name of the German air force).

Once the word "spook" was linked to blackness, it wasn't long before it became a recognizable — if second-tier — slur.

But that wasn't the end of the story for spook. The word had a bit of a renaissance in the 1970s, with the release of the novel and classic film, The Spook Who Sat By The Door , by Sam Greenlee .

Both the book and movie tell the fictional story of the first black man recruited and trained by the CIA. That man goes through his training, works for a little while, and then quits his job and moves back to Chicago, where he secretly trains a group of young black "freedom fighters."

What A Thug's Life Looked Like In 19th Century India

What A Thug's Life Looked Like In 19th Century India

The title of the movie, of course, both refers to spook meaning "black person" and spook meaning "spy." And as a satirical piece of literature written by an African-American author in the years following the civil rights movement, the use of "spook" was infused with an extra dose of irony.

Renee Blake is a sociolinguist who studies the way language is used in society, "whether it's based on race, class, gender or the like." She says she doesn't hear the word spook all that often, but she does have two salient reference points for it.

The first is The Spook Who Sat By The Door , and the second is the 2000 book and 2003 movie The Human Stain, by Phillip Roth. His novel tells the story of a professor at a New England college who is forced to resign after he calls two African-American students spooks.

The word spook hasn't just gotten fictional people in trouble. In 2010, Target apologized for selling a Halloween toy called "Spook Drop Parachuters" — literally miniature black figurines with orange parachutes.

In light of all this baggage, I asked Blake what she thought about the use of words like spook and spooky during Halloween. She said that, while it's clear that spook has multiple, distinct meanings, it's still important to think about context.

The way that certain words get attached to particular racial groups is incredibly complicated. ( Take thug , for example .)

"Be thoughtful about the fact that [spook] now might have the connotation of referring to a black person in a disparaging way," Blake says. "If someone says, 'Did you get spooked?' and there are no black people there, then, OK, you mean 'Did you get scared or frightened?' That's fine, I get it."

But once you insert black people into the situation, Blake says, it's important to be more tactful. "We know that the word 'niggardly' doesn't mean a black person, but let's be sensitive. Are you going to use the word niggardly in front of a group of young students in a classroom? No."

So, this Halloween, be a little cautious when it comes to describing your surroundings. And don't be afraid of creeping into the thesaurus for a spooky synonym.

To me, it's more fun to be aghast, bloodcurdled, or spine-chilled than "spooked."

Got a race question for Code Switch? Ask us here .

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31 of the Scariest Town Names in America

Who needs a trip to Cabo when you can get in touch with your inner Morticia instead?

Bird, Branch, Sky, American crow, Beak, Silhouette, Crow-like bird, Rook, Twig, Crow,

None of these towns are actually haunted — at least as far as we know — but the names will still give you the chills.

Gnaw Bone, Indiana

Motor vehicle, Transport, Sky, Road, Mode of transport, Signage, Street sign, Sign, Lane, Vehicle,

There are a few theories floating around about where this Indiana town got its ghastly distinction. The most popular suggests that Gnaw Bone comes from it's original French settlement name "Narbonne." It sounds a lot less ominous in French.

Scarville, Iowa

Face, Hair, Eyebrow, Eye, Head, Skin, Close-up, Beauty, Nose, Organ,

There are no Lion King villains marching around this small town (the 2010 census recorded only 72 people living there.) The city was simply named after local landowner Ole Scar .

Hell, Michigan

While there are a few theories about where this town got its name, sadly, none have to do with devil horn sightings. Supposedly, the name comes from the "hell-like" conditions early explorers encountered in the area thanks to mosquitoes and challenging wetland.

Tombstone, Arizona

This town was reportedly named by Ed Schieffelin, who was briefly a scout for the U.S. Army searching for ore samples. His friend and former Army Scout Al Sieber was quoted telling Schieffelin "The only rock you will find out there will be your own tombstone."

Casper, Wyoming

No friendly ghosts in this town. Just oil. Casper, a.k.a. "The Oil City" gets its name name from Fort Caspar , even though the spelling is different (which grammarphiles probably also find scary.)

Bad Axe, Michigan

In the early 1900's, Rudolph Papbst and George Wills Pack found a badly damaged axe at the site of the future town, so the men named the campsite Bad Axe which rolled off the tongue a bit more than Useless Hatchett.

Red Devil, Alaska

After mercury deposits were found in the surrounding mountains, this town started calling itself the Red Devil in 1921. Despite the name, there are have been no recorded demon sightings to date.

Dead Women Crossing, Oklahoma

The supposedly haunted town got its moniker from the brutal 1905 murder of schoolteacher Katie DeWitt James , who went missing with her 14-month old baby and was found dead near a creek. Not exactly the most inviting origin story.


Cape Fear, North Carolina

The name of this famous shoreline dates back to Sir Richard Grenville's 1585 expedition to Roanoke Island. Apparently the ship got stuck behind the cape and the crew was afraid that the ship would capsize, hence the name Cape Fear.

Seven Devils, North Carolina

If you thought one devil was enough, then think again. This Appalachian town was supposedly named after seven 19th century brothers who were so quick to fight that they were named the "seven devils" by locals. And you thought your kids had behavior problems.

GA PEPPY/ Flickr

Devil's Den, Wyoming

This area's foreboding vibe contributed to its spooky name. Devil's Den sits near the Yellowstone River in Wyoming, perfect for backpackers and daring nature adventurers .

West Kill, New York

It may sound like the site of a murder, but the area is totally (err, probably) harmless. It's named after the West Kill stream , which flows through the Devil's Path range of the Catskill Mountains. If you're in the northeast, you'll probably encounter lots of "kills." It sounds grim, but "kille" is actually a Middle Dutch word for "riverbed."

Death Valley, California

This place got its name from a group of pioneers who were lost there in the 1800's. So what if it's one of the hottest places in the world with a record temperature of 134 degrees? That doesn't stop tourists from flocking there and the Star Wars crew from filming there. Just make sure you have enough water with you when you visit.

Black Creek, Georgia

While it may sound like a nasty lake monster lives here, there are no dark waters to be found.

Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

The murderous name apparently came about in the 1700's after a ship carrying rum crashed in the area. The rum was so foul that it was dubbed "kill-devil." Kill Devil Hills is also the site of the Wright brothers' first controlled airplane flights in the early 1900's.

Cut Off, Louisiana

This Southern town's name comes from a canal cut off that runs through the area. Part of the town is known as Côte Blanche — French for "White Coast" — because of all of the white painted houses that were there for most of the early and mid 1900's.

Deadwood, Oregon

Deadwood supposedly got its name from the dead timber near the town's creek banks.

Vulture City, Arizona

While visiting this town, so called for Vulture Mine — the most productive gold mine in the history of Arizona — you may run into a winged scavenger or two. Or at least that's what the name would suggest.

Frankenstein, Missouri

Unfortunately the mayor of this Osage County community is not Dr. Frankenstein's monster. Oh well. The town most likely got its name from pioneer citizen Godfried Franken .

Salem, Massachusetts

The name itself isn't eerie but its reputation certainly is. Salem is known for being the site of the infamous witch trials in 1692, which unlike Hocus Pocus , didn't exactly have a happy ending.

Shelf, Furniture, Cabinetry, Room, Shelving, Cupboard, Kitchen, Hutch, Wood, Plywood,

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nashville, tennessee may 05 editorial use only taylor swift performs onstage during night one of taylor swift the eras tour at nissan stadium on may 05, 2023 in nashville, tennessee photo by john shearertas23getty images for tas rights management

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The 13 Spookiest English Words to Instantly Put You in the Halloween Spirit

Jennifer Calonia

Practicing thoughtful word choice in your writing lets you clearly express your meaning to the reader, and it helps set a vivid mood and tone . If you’re writing a creepy scene in a poem, short story, or longer work, you can conjure the scene just right by using evocative language. Inspired by Halloween , we’ve compiled a list of thirteen spooky words that’ll make your reader’s hair stand on edge.

Strike the right tone Grammarly helps you write the way you intend Write with Grammarly

The adjective “ghastly” evokes a horrifying or terrifying sentiment about the noun it’s describing. It’s reminiscent of the word “ghost” as if the subject is taking on a death-like pallor.    

“‘Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,’ I said, ‘art sure no craven,

 Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore —

 Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!’ 

 Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore.’” —Edgar Allan Poe, “The Raven”

The word “ghoulish” describes grotesque or perverse characteristics that are frightening to the beholder. It’s also a form of “ghoul,” a word derived from Arabic that means demonic being.

“Despite my ghoulish reputation, I really have the heart of a small boy. I keep it in a jar on my desk.” — Robert Bloch, author of Psycho

Nothing screams Halloween like the word “macabre,” which was derived from an Old French phrase that alludes to the “dance of death.” Today, macabre acutely describes death in a grisly and gory fashion. 

She turned the corner of the house and flinched as the smell of decaying flesh, rotten yet cold as iron, struck her nostrils. A few feet ahead, her eyes met the macabre playground of the day’s crime scene. 

“Phantasm” conjures a haunting image of an unnatural apparition. Emerging from the supernatural, a phantasm might be seen so faintly, so momentarily, that its beholder questions the reality of the surrounding world.   

“But some of us awake in the night with strange phantasms of enchanted hills and gardens, of fountains that sing in the sun, of golden cliffs overhanging murmuring seas, of plains that stretch down to sleeping cities of bronze and stone, and of shadowy companies of heroes that ride caparisoned white horses along the edges of thick forests; and then we know that we have looked back through the ivory gates into that world of wonder which was ours before we were wise and unhappy.” ―Howard Phillips Lovecraft

5 Spine-tingling

Alluding to the human anatomy in your writing conjures sensations of fear. The adjective “spine-tingling” can refer to a chilling, heart-thumping type of fright, but can also describe thrilling suspense about an unknown situation. 

As Mr. Pettigood stood frozen gazing at the ransom letter, a spine-tingling draft billowed through the drawing room, as if bringing his awareness back from the clouds.

6 Blood-curdling

The word “blood-curdling” arouses terror and fear from the senses . It comes from the medieval idea that an excessive amount of fear can turn the blood cold and therefore curdle it. 

“There’s nothing like a blood-curdling hymn to make you feel at home, thought Jean Louise.” — Harper Lee, Go Set a Watchman

Descriptive words for sounds add layers to an already spooky writing project. “Creaky” objects, like wooden floorboards in disrepair or a rusty swing, almost cry out in warning to the reader. 

“If I didn’t look around it would not be true that somebody had opened the gate with the creaky hinges, and that is a wonderful principle for a man to get hold of… What you don’t know don’t hurt you, for it ain’t real.” — Robert Penn Warren, All the King’s Men: Restored Edition   

The word “howl” evokes a melancholy, pained cry. It’s made by an animal, but attributing a howl to a subject that’s not an animal sets an especially eerie mood.

“And now, my poor old woman, why are you crying so bitterly? It is autumn. The leaves are falling from the trees like burning tears―the wind howls . Why must you mimic them?” ― Mervyn Peake, Titus Groan

>>Read More: 10 Ways to Write About Nature That Aren’t Clich é

Describing a noun as “shadowy” makes it mysterious, dark, and difficult to see. And when it’s hard to discern nearby spooky figures, your imagination races to the creepiest possibilities.

Just beyond the threshold, a shadowy graveyard emerged. The fog drifted between the headstones, as if threatening to stir the peace below the earth.

When a subject is “lurking,” it suggests someone who poses a sinister threat and is purposefully biding their time for an opportune moment to attack.  

“What’s behind the door or lurking at the top of the stairs is never as frightening as the door or the staircase itself.” — Stephen King, Danse Macabre

Lead your readers underground with images of a “crypt”—a vault that’s used as a burial area, commonly underneath a church. Crypts elicit an unsettling and foreboding mood that’s perfect for a frightening tale.

“The last condescended from Academy spires Pretended at life with a cold, dead heart Face like a crypt , from a family of liars Quietly, quietly played . . . her . . . part. —Children’s nursery rhyme” ― K.D. Castner, Daughters of Ruin

The word “cackle” is often described as a witch’s laugh. The sound is harsh, shrill, and menacing. It can be used to evoke a sense of scorn or unpleasantness that’s to come.

T he hooded figure let out a cackle , then calmly brought a finger toward its cracked, blue lips.

13 Disquieting

This adjective is used to refer to something that makes someone feel anxious or uneasy. The combination of the prefix “dis-” and the root word “quiet” in and of itself implies the opposite of calm; the word is used in the context of a disturbing or fearful situation, ratcheting up a sense of dread.

“ A disquieting loneliness came into my life, but it induced no hunger for friends of longer acquaintance.” ―Truman Capote

These are just a few words to create an ominous and creepy mood in your writing that’s sure to make your audience sleep with the lights on at night. 

spooky area meaning

Synonyms of spooky

  • as in excitable
  • as in eerie
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Thesaurus Definition of spooky

Synonyms & Similar Words

  • hyperkinetic
  • hyperactive
  • hyperexcitable
  • high - strung
  • fiddle - footed
  • melodramatic
  • hot - blooded
  • temperamental
  • hypersensitive
  • emotionalistic
  • perturbable
  • flibbertigibbety

Antonyms & Near Antonyms

  • imperturbable
  • unflappable
  • unexcitable
  • laid - back
  • supernatural
  • metaphysical
  • enigmatical
  • inscrutable
  • preternatural
  • unaccustomed
  • commonplace
  • unremarkable
  • unexceptional
  • predictable

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Cite this entry.

“Spooky.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/spooky. Accessed 5 Oct. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on spooky

Nglish: Translation of spooky for Spanish Speakers

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7 seriously spooky places in America

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From urban legends passed down for centuries to real-life harrowing tales, America ’s closet is filled with skeletons. These cities will put a chill down your spine and make your hair stand on end with their history and folklore. Indulge your morbid curiosity and explore some of these spooky places in America.

1. Bannack, Montana

2. estes park, colorado, 3. charleston, south carolina, 4. salem, massachusetts, 5. savannah, georgia, 6. seattle, washington, 7. sleepy hollow, new york.

With the major discovery of gold in 1862, Bannack was established and the hope of a thriving city emerged. Soon, though, things went horribly wrong. The sheriff, Henry Plummer, was a well-known criminal and leader of a gang accused of more than a hundred murders.

Cut off from the rest of the world, with the only way in or out of the town being the Montana Trail, residents of Bannack abandoned their homes by the 1970s. Today, travellers can visit this ghost town and explore the abandoned buildings as a reminder of a dark place in America’s history.


The creepily abandoned town of Bannack, Montana © Zack Frank/Shutterstock

Best known for its role in Stephen King’s The Shining , this behemoth has spooked more than a few guests and staff members since its opening in 1909, and today is reputed to be one of America’s most haunted hotels.

Spend a night in this lavish estate, and you could find yourself among guests both living and dead, including the spirit of Flora Stanley, the late wife of the original owner. Supposedly, if you listen closely at night you can sometimes hear her play her cherished piano.


The legendary Stanley Hotel, known for its role in Stephen King's 'The Shining' © Mitchell Meffert/Shutterstock

The infamous Old City Jail housed many of Charleston’s most dangerous criminals – including America’s first female serial killer, Lavinia Fisher. A few blocks away, St Philip’s Graveyard is said to be haunted by the ghost of Sue Howard, a woman who tragically died shortly after giving birth in 1888. Legend has it that in 1987, a local photographer snapped a photo of Howard’s ghost roaming the cemetery.


The Old City Jail housed some of Charleston's most dangerous criminals © David AvRutick/Shutterstock

Another notable landmark is the House of Seven Gables, built in 1668 by sea captain John Turner, which is said to have a secret room where he could hide his sisters from the overzealous witch hunters that often frequented a nearby tavern. Today it’s open to visitors to explore if they dare – many believe the house to be haunted.


The haunted House of Seven Gables © travelview/Shutterstock

Related articles from the blog


A stop at the haunted Old Candler Hospital will bring visitors to the infamous morgue tunnel, which runs from the hospital under the neighbouring park. It once held the recently-deceased bodies of victims of the city's many Yellow Fever epidemics. Today, a tour through the tunnels is bound to chill even the living.


Spanish moss drapes from Savannah's trees to give an eerie atmosphere © DSerge Skiba/Shutterstock

The underground tunnels became hangouts for gangsters, prostitutes and opium addicts. The city soon had to condemn the subterranean community as it became a breeding pit for diseases. It was only decades later in the 1960s that the tunnels opened up again for tourism and a few areas are reputed to have become paranormal hotspots.


Seattle's underground tunnels are reputed to have become paranormal hotspots © Zack Frank/Shutterstock

With its ominous appeal, it’s no surprise the town comes alive during the late fall. From The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze to the absolutely horrifying Horseman’s Hollow, this may just be one of the spookiest places to celebrate Halloween.


The Headless Horseman, complete with severed pumpkin head © James Kirkikis/Shutterstock

Top image © Dark Moon Pictures/Shutterstock

Explore more of the USA with The Rough Guide to the USA . Compare flights , find tours , book hostels and hotels for your trip, and don’t forget to buy travel insurance before you go.

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like or befitting a spook or ghost; suggestive of spooks .

eerie; scary.

(especially of horses) nervous; skittish.

Origin of spooky

Other words from spooky.

  • spook·i·ly, adverb
  • spook·i·ness, noun

Words Nearby spooky

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use spooky in a sentence

It’s always interesting and well-directed, even when we’re fed horror cliches galore, from spooky dollhouses to things lurking in the basement.

Thanks to campfire tales and multimillion-dollar horror flicks, spooky notions can infiltrate our subconscious even without any real-life supernatural encounters.

In fact, “investors may be convinced that Halloween was purposely placed in October because the market’s actions can be so spooky ,” CFRA’s Sam Stovall wrote in a recent note.

So much so that CFRA’s Stovall quips, “Investors may be convinced that Halloween was purposely placed in October because the market’s actions can be so spooky .”

For example, key to the quantum internet is entanglement — that “ spooky action at a distance” in which particles are linked across time and space, and measuring the properties of one particle instantly reveals the other’s properties.

Warne looked—in the words of the Daily Mail—“like a spooky waxwork.”

spooky Tooth had reformed quite a while before I received the call and were touring quite often.

When we all saw this, both my brothers turned to look at me in the car and pulled ‘ spooky ’ faces at me.

“As much as I love sunny meadows and bunnies, I also love spooky forests with owls,” she says.

Formerly a playground for Sunday school kids, it has a spooky , cloistered feel to it.

I don't believe there is anything spooky about that building.

"I hate to go through the grove, it's so spooky ," she said, as they hurried along.

And again the ghostly hoot of the owl made the little patch of woods seem more spooky and lonesome.

A lonely owl answered with a dismal shriek from a distant tree, making the night seem still more spooky .

Those were gnomes—the real spooky , spinky kind that give you the shivers up and down your back when they're out gnoming.

British Dictionary definitions for spooky

/ ( ˈspuːkɪ ) /

ghostly or eerie : a spooky house

resembling or appropriate to a ghost

US easily frightened; highly strung

Derived forms of spooky

  • spookily , adverb
  • spookiness , noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

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What happens if the government shuts down: an illustrated guide.

Tami Luhby

Congress has passed a stopgap funding measure within hours of a deadline to prevent a federal government shutdown, keeping the government open through November 17. Here’s a guide to what you can expect if the government shuts down then.

What is a government shutdown?

A government shutdown happens when Congress doesn’t approve funding for the federal government by the time the new fiscal year starts on October 1. It can be averted briefly if a short-term funding bill is passed, like what happened just before midnight on September 30. Each year, Congress must pass the 12 appropriation bills that make up the discretionary spending budget and set funding levels for federal agencies.

What happens during a government shutdown?

If lawmakers fail to enact all or some of the appropriation bills, many government operations grind to a halt, resulting in a full or partial government shutdown until Congress acts. However, government functions that are deemed essential will continue.

Each federal agency comes up with a contingency plan that outlines which of its functions will continue during a shutdown and which will stop, as well as how many of its employees will continue working and how many will be furloughed until the shutdown ends.

What it means for you

Because many federal workers are off the job during a government shutdown, many services are stopped or slowed, disturbing the day-to-day life for many Americans.

Notably, Social Security payments to seniors, Americans with disabilities and others would continue to be distributed. The Postal Service would also continue regular service. Some states would use their own funds to keep open certain national parks, like the Grand Canyon.

Here are some examples of how a shutdown could affect you.

What it means for government workers

When a shutdown occurs, millions of federal employees and military service members do not get paid until it ends.

Employees deemed “essential,” such as those in services that protect public safety or national security, keep working. In the past, this included services such as federal law enforcement and air traffic control.

Non-essential employees are furloughed, or temporarily suspended.

Both groups must pull from savings or find other ways to stretch their dollars, not only until the shutdown ends but until back pay arrives. The number of workers affected depends on if the shutdown is full or partial. If some appropriation bills pass on time, those corresponding federal agencies will have approved funding and continue operating as normal, resulting in only a partial shutdown.

During the last government shutdown in 2018-19, an estimated 420,000 federal employees worked without pay and another 380,000 were furloughed. But depending on which agencies are affected, these numbers can be much higher.

Government contractors are even worse off. Unlike federal workers, contractors have no guarantee of getting back pay once the government reopens. Contractors number in the millions and include firms that work for NASA, the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Aviation Administration, and other federal agencies, providing a range of services such as IT or infrastructure repair.

What it means for the economy

On a national scale, government shutdowns can have far-reaching economic consequences, hampering growth and promoting uncertainty, especially if they drag on. Some of these costs include raising the unemployment rate, lowering the growth in gross domestic product (GDP), and raising the cost of borrowing. Each week of a government shutdown could cost the US economy $6 billion and shave GDP growth by 0.1 percentage points in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to estimates by EY.

A shutdown also renders the state of the US economy unclear. In such an event, the Bureau of Labor Statistics stops releasing data, such as key figures on inflation and unemployment, making it challenging for the Federal Reserve and investors to interpret the economy and make decisions – decisions that are especially crucial at the moment as the Fed is at a pivotal point in its campaign to defeat high inflation.

Business as usual across the country is affected too. During this shutdown, the Small Business Administration will stop processing new applications for two major loan programs, which distribute more than $100 million per day to small companies. And, during the last impasse, pending company mergers slowed because the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) wasn’t fully staffed and initial public offerings were put on pause after the SEC stopped reviewing and approving filings.

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The Supreme Court will hear a case with a lot of ‘buts’ & ‘ifs’ over the meaning of ‘and’

FILE - The Supreme Court is seen in Washington, with the U.S. Capitol in the distance, Nov. 4, 2020. It's hard to imagine a less contentious or more innocent word than “and.” But how to interpret the simple conjunction has prompted a complicated legal fight that lands in the Supreme Court on the first day of its new term next week. What the justices decide could affect thousands of prison sentences each year. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

FILE - The Supreme Court is seen in Washington, with the U.S. Capitol in the distance, Nov. 4, 2020. It’s hard to imagine a less contentious or more innocent word than “and.” But how to interpret the simple conjunction has prompted a complicated legal fight that lands in the Supreme Court on the first day of its new term next week. What the justices decide could affect thousands of prison sentences each year. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s hard to imagine a less contentious or more innocent word than “and.”

But how to interpret that simple conjunction has prompted a complicated legal fight that lands in the Supreme Court on Oct. 2, the first day of its new term. What the justices decide could affect thousands of prison sentences each year.

Federal courts across the country disagree about whether the word, as it is used in a bipartisan 2018 criminal justice overhaul , indeed means “and” or whether it means “or.” Even an appellate panel that upheld a longer sentence called the structure of the provision “perplexing.”

The Supreme Court has stepped in to settle the dispute .

It’s the kind of task the justices — and maybe their English teachers — love. The case requires the close parsing of a part of a federal statute, the First Step Act , which aimed in part to reduce mandatory minimum sentences and give judges more discretion.

FILE - Connor Thonen-Fleck addresses reporters while his parents stand by his side, Monday March 11, 2019, in Durham, N.C., at the announcement of a lawsuit against North Carolina officials over how the state health plan is run. A federal appeals court is considering cases out of North Carolina and West Virginia that could have broad-ranging implications on whether individual states are constitutionally required to cover healthcare for transgender people with government-sponsored insurance. (AP Photo/ Jonathan Drew, FIle)

In particular, the justices will be examining a so-called safety valve provision that is meant to spare low-level, nonviolent drug dealers who agree to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors from having to face often longer mandatory sentences .

It’s much more than an exercise in diagramming a sentence. Nearly 6,000 people convicted of drug trafficking in the 2021 budget year alone are in the pool of those who might be eligible for reduced sentences, according to data compiled by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

Overall, more than 10,000 people sentenced since the law took effect could be affected, according to Douglas Berman, an expert on sentencing at Ohio State University’s law school.

The provision lists three criteria for allowing judges to forgo a mandatory minimum sentence that basically look to the severity of prior crimes. Congress did not make it easy by writing the section in the negative so that a judge can exercise discretion in sentencing if a defendant “does not have” three sorts of criminal history.

The question is how to determine eligibility for the safety valve — whether any of the conditions is enough to disqualify someone or whether it takes all three to be ineligible.

Lawyers for Mark Pulsifer , the inmate whose challenge the court will hear, say all three conditions must apply before the longer sentence can be imposed. The government says just one condition is enough to merit the mandatory minimum.

Pulsifer pleaded guilty to one count of distributing at least 50 grams of methamphetamine. Two of the three conditions applied to Pulsifer, and that was enough for the trial court and the St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to make him eligible for a mandatory sentence of at least 15 years. He actually received a 13 1/2-year sentence for unrelated reasons.

Now 61, Pulsifer is not scheduled to be released from prison until 2031, according to federal Bureau of Prison records.

Appeals courts based in Chicago, Cincinnati and New Orleans also have ruled against defendants. Courts in Atlanta, Richmond, Virginia and San Francisco have ruled to broaden eligibility for the safety valve reductions.

In one case in Texas, Nonami Palomares, who was caught with heroin at the U.S.-Mexican border, was given a mandatory 10-year sentence because she had a previous 20-year-old drug offense. She might otherwise have had two years knocked off her sentence.

But in San Diego, Eric Lopez had about 45 pounds of meth on him when he was arrested qualified for the safety valve, despite his own earlier conviction, and avoided an additional year behind bars. U.S. District Judge James Lorenz wrote in Lopez’s case that the law was ambiguous.

Both Palomares’ and Lopez’s cases could be affected by the Supreme Court’s decision.

Linguists who specialize in the law submitted a brief in which they wrote that surveys they conducted found people thought the language was either ambiguous or should be read the way Pulsifer’s legal team argues.

FAMM, which advocates against mandatory minimum sentences, has joined criminal defense lawyers and the American Civil Liberties Union in a filing that argues that mandatory sentences “are entirely at odds with what Congress sought to achieve in amending the safety-valve provision: that judges be allowed to use their discretion when sentencing low-level, nonviolent drug offenders.”

Berman said the language of the statute alone points to a broad reading that would favor defendants. “But the concern about the broad reading is that it basically covers everybody. I think it’s right that that wasn’t Congress’ intent,” Berman said, echoing arguments made by judges who sided with prosecutors.

On a court in which several justices across the ideological spectrum say they are guided by the words Congress chooses, with less regard for congressional intent, that might be enough to favor defendants. In addition, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s prior experience as a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission also could be important to the court’s resolution of the case.

The safety valve has been attractive both to prosecutors and defendants because it helps obtain convictions faster and allows for more nuanced prison terms, Berman said.

Congress could clarify the law, no matter which side wins. Even if Pulsifer prevails, judges will not be obligated to impose lower sentences, Berman said. They just will not be compelled to give mandatory ones.

A decision in Pulsifer v. U.S., 22-340, is expected by spring.

Cambridge Dictionary

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Meaning of spooky in English

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  • awesomeness
  • bloodcurdling
  • frightening
  • frighteningly
  • intimidating
  • intimidatingly
  • scarifyingly
  • terrifyingly
  • traumatically
  • white-knuckle

Translations of spooky

Get a quick, free translation!


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learning something in order to be able to repeat it from memory, rather than in order to understand it

A bump in the road: talking about things that prevent progress

A bump in the road: talking about things that prevent progress

spooky area meaning

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    36 other terms for spooky place- words and phrases with similar meaning

  9. Spooky Definition & Meaning

    1 : strange, unsettling, or frightening in a way that suggests the supernatural : eerie, uncanny [Caroline] Shaw's composition … is a mysterious and densely layered four-movement work … with vocalization and spookier in-between sounds that originate deep in the throat: moans, gasps, exhalations of breath. Gia Kourlas

  10. Scariest Town Names in America

    This area's foreboding vibe contributed to its spooky name. Devil's Den sits near the Yellowstone River in Wyoming, perfect for backpackers and daring nature adventurers . Advertisement - Continue ...

  11. The racist history of the word "spook."

    Spook comes from the Dutch word for apparition, or specter. The noun was first used in English around the turn of the nineteenth century. Over the next few decades, it developed other forms, like ...

  12. Spooky definition and meaning

    1. ghostly or eerie a spooky house 2. resembling or appropriate to a ghost 3. US easily frightened; highly strung Collins English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers Derived forms spookily (ˈspookily) adverb spookiness (ˈspookiness) noun Word Frequency spooky in American English (ˈspuki ) US

  13. Spooky

    Define spooky. spooky synonyms, spooky pronunciation, spooky translation, English dictionary definition of spooky. adj. spook·i·er , spook·i·est Informal 1. Suggestive of ghosts or spirits, especially in being eerie or disturbing: a spooky attic.

  14. 13 Spooky Words in English That Give Us Chills

    The adjective "ghastly" evokes a horrifying or terrifying sentiment about the noun it's describing. It's reminiscent of the word "ghost" as if the subject is taking on a death-like pallor. Example: "'Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, 'art sure no craven, Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore —

  15. Haunted Area synonyms

    43 other terms for haunted area- words and phrases with similar meaning

  16. 110 Synonyms & Antonyms of SPOOKY

    1 as in excitable easily excited by nature a spooky horse shying at shadows Synonyms & Similar Words Relevance excitable nervous unstable volatile anxious hyper jumpy emotional skittery fluttery jittery intense hyperkinetic hyperactive hyperexcitable spasmodic high-strung sensitive skittish irritable flighty soulful volcanic fiddle-footed dramatic

  17. 7 Of The Spookiest Places In America

    3. Charleston, South Carolina Charleston is one of America's prettiest towns, boasting a historic district packed with multicoloured homes and a sedate palm-lined waterfront. But look beneath the surface and you'll find a darker side to this popular destination. The infamous Old City Jail housed many of Charleston's most dangerous criminals - including America's first female serial ...

  18. SPOOKY

    adjective informal uk / ˈspuː.ki / us / ˈspuː.ki / Add to word list strange and frightening: It was a spooky coincidence. SMART Vocabulary: related words and phrases Describing things that cause fear awesome awesomely awesomeness bloodcurdling chilling fearsome fearsomely frightening frighteningly greasily intimidating intimidatingly scarifying

  19. Spooky Definition & Meaning

    Spooky definition, like or befitting a spook or ghost; suggestive of spooks. See more.

  20. spooky

    spooky. From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English spook‧y /ˈspuːki/ adjective informal strange or frightening in a way that makes you think of ghost s a spooky old house spooky stories The candlelight created a rather spooky atmosphere. see thesaurus at frightening Examples from the Corpus spooky • You walked right into the living ...

  21. spooky

    spooky adj. (scary: ghosts, etc.) qui fait peur loc adj. (familier) qui file la chair de poule loc adj. effrayant adj. The old, abandoned house was spooky; John was sure it must be haunted. C'était une veille maison abandonnée qui faisait peur ; John était certain qu'elle était hantée.

  22. Spooky definition in American English

    1. of, like, or suggesting a spook or spooks; weird; eerie 2. easily spooked; nervous, apprehensive, fearful, jumpy, etc. Webster's New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. Derived forms spookily (ˈspookily) adverb spookiness (ˈspookiness) noun Word Frequency

  23. Spooky

    spooky: 1 adj unpredictably excitable (especially of horses) Synonyms: flighty , nervous , skittish excitable easily excited

  24. What happens if the government shuts down: An illustrated guide

    On a national scale, government shutdowns can have far-reaching economic consequences, hampering growth and promoting uncertainty, especially if they drag on. Some of these costs include raising ...

  25. Dunkin' unveils 6-foot inflatable spider donut just in time for spooky

    TAMPA, Fla. — It's nearing spooky season, and Dunkin' is getting into the spirit by unveiling a 6-foot inflatable version of its seasonal Spider Donut treat.Dunkin's new Halloween-themed ...

  26. The Supreme Court will hear a case with a lot of 'buts' & 'ifs' over

    Federal courts across the country disagree about whether the word, as it is used in a bipartisan 2018 criminal justice overhaul, indeed means "and" or whether it means "or.". Even an appellate panel that upheld a longer sentence called the structure of the provision "perplexing.". The Supreme Court has stepped in to settle the dispute.

  27. SPOOKY

    spooky meaning: 1. strange and frightening: 2. strange and frightening: . Learn more.