I asked the question below on the EL&U site:

I read it in the main page of Yahoo (Poll):

Q - Are you at all superstitious?

A - Yes, I've been spooked.

What does spooked mean in this context?

I looked for the meaning of spooked and it seems like it means something like "impressed by ghosts or magic in the past" or maybe scared of them. But I am not sure about this. Would you please explain if it has other usages which might convey a different meaning than the mentioned example?

And after it was closed, I found in the closing box the explanation below, which I found ambiguous. Is it only a kind of personal idea, or is it definitely reasonable in English to find what "useful for worldwide audiences of the internet" is or is not? As a non English-speaker I want to know whether I should avoid it.

it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet.


2 Answers 2


The verb "to spook" means to scare, and the noun spook means "ghost", so, in context, the answer "Yes, I've been spooked" means that the speaker has been frightened by things supernatural (his or her belief in ghosts at the moment of being frightened) and is somewhat superstitious. This, it seems to me, is "useful for worldwide audiences of the internet" because it explains the meaning of an English idiom and illustrates how it is properly used.

[EDIT]: I've deleted some of my remarks about the "useful for worldwide audiences of the internet" comment because it's the site's justification for closing a question as "too localized". The question about the meaning of "I was spooked" in context, which is a question about denotation and usage, doesn't seem too localized to me, so I don't think it should have been closed. It might be too basic for EL&U, but I see no problem with its being asked here instead of on EL&U.

  • thanks for your participation in this topic. I agree with you completely but I have been suspended by posters and cannot send anything there before passing 3 days of my condemnation ages as a rule breaker! About original question it was only a poll in the main page of yahoo which is temporary available and changes everyday and this Q&A is only readable in the main page not in the page which poll talks about. At the moment of posting this question and closing by poster in the EL&U It was available. Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 10:01
  • "it's the site's justification for closing a question as "too localized"". Thank you! so in the other word It is only a personal idea by poster and do not have any reasonable rule in English language. I think these kinds of personal ideas may damage a correct image of English language and its usages. They are clear, correct or even reasonable most of the time and can confuse many non English speakers. Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 11:59
  • About being basic or not it is another ambiguous matter because according to different idea owners it includes a different range of questions as you see here. Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 12:02
  • EDIT: The second comment from above : They are "not" clear,correct or even reasonable most of the time and can confuse many non English speakers. Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 12:29

Useful for world-wide audiences of the internet is intended to mean that the question will be be helpful for someone regardless of where on the planet they live.

Questions that are only about a very localised custom (eg what is the reason for the nickname of the local pub?), or that only apply in unusual circumstances (eg a cousin on my mother's side married a cousin on my father's side - what is the name for the relation between their children and mine?) are not examples of being useful for world-wide audiences of the internet.

I don't entirely agree with the stated verdict, i.e. that the referenced question only applies to a small geographic area or narrow situation - if I had to guess, I'd say the narrow situation relates to this use of the word being constrained to the Yahoo poll. However that's where the meta people come in. It takes a number of reviewers to have questions closed, and they may select different reasons. (There are only a few choices as I understand.) To get better information relating to the individual circumstances of the closure of your question, I would check the meta site.

To perhaps get a more useful answer to your original question, I would suggest asking it here (in ELL) if that doesn't contravene any ell/el&u/so rules


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