Green’s Dictionary of Slang

spooky adj.1

[note surfing jargon spooky, of a dangerous or frightening wave]

1. (orig. US) frightening, eerie, pertaining to the ‘spirit world’.

[US]Wide West 16 July 1/5: After treading many dark passages, the guide, having unlocked all sorts of ‘spooky’ looking iron doors, [...] ushered us before the tomb [DA].
[UK] ‘’Arry’s Visit to the Moon’ in Punch Christmas Number in P. Marks (2006) 166: The place [...] was spooky and spectral at that.
[Aus]E. Dyson Fact’ry ’Ands 239: There was somethin’ spooky ’n’ soopernatural erbout er pertickler weird ’n’ unaccountable erfluvium.
[US]F.S. Fitzgerald ‘Pat Hobby’s College Days’ in Pat Hobby Stories (1967) 167: It’s kind of spooky.
[US](con. 1944) N. Mailer Naked and Dead 113: Jesus, it’s spooky tonight.
[US]R. Prather Always Leave ’Em Dying 77: Suddenly the organ swung into a spooky number that the assembled Trammelites seemed to recognize.
[UK]G. Lambert Inside Daisy Clover (1966) 158: It all felt extremely spooky.
[US]T. Southern Blue Movie (1974) 49: He said we shouldn’t both wear them [i.e. dark glasses] at the same time — said it’s a bad image, Looks spooky.
[US]J. Wambaugh Glitter Dome (1982) 111: Goddamn spooky old dame!
[UK]I. Welsh Trainspotting 126: When ah wis a sprog Dode eywis seemed a real spooky dude.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Wind & Monkey (2013) [ebook] This wasn’t a pleasant day’s snorkel sucking down North Bondi. This was spooky.
[UK]Observer mag. 9 Jan. 25: The results of that quiz are a bit spooky.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Leaving Bondi (2013) [ebook] This is a spooky fuckin joint.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skinny Dip 66: ‘Weird,’ Yancy said quietly. ‘Spooky weird.’.
[US]T. Dorsey Riptide Ultra-Glide 185: ‘Spook Hill sure is spooky’.

2. (US) nervous, easily frightened, superstitious.

[US]D. Branch Cowboy and His Interpreters 12: There were times when the steer would get spooky and mad.
[US]Westerners’ Brand Book 51: Range cattle [...] were too ‘spooky’ in those days for man-made bridges [DA].
[US]T. Runyon In For Life 44: I worried, and I was a little spooky.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 359: She felt spooky as a tree full of hootowls.

3. of a person, frightening, menacing.

[US]J.D. Salinger Catcher in the Rye (1958) 102: She was a pretty spooky kid. Even with that little bitty voice she had, she could sort of scare you a little bit.
[UK]N. Cohn Awopbop. (1970) 194: Dave Berry was [...] very spooky in black, and he said he was going to be reincarnated as a snake.
[Can]R. Caron Go-Boy! 124: Sometimes Leonard in his quiet way could be downright spooky.
[Aus]M. Bail Homesickness (1999) 172: I find her a bit spooky [...] She hardly says a word.
[US]J. Stahl Permanent Midnight 99: ‘That guy was spooky,’ Sandra said.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 46: This Russian guy’s a spooky cunt.