Haunt | Definition of Haunt by Merriam-Webster


\ ˈhȯnt How to pronounce haunt (audio) , ˈhänt \
haunted; haunting; haunts

Definition of haunt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to visit often : frequent spends a lot of time haunting bookstores
b : to continually seek the company of haunting celebrities impostors that haunt the official in foreign ports— Van Wyck Brooks
2a : to have a disquieting or harmful effect on : trouble problems we ignore now will come back to haunt us
b : to recur constantly and spontaneously to the tune haunted her
c : to reappear continually in a sense of tension that haunts his writing
3 : to visit or inhabit as a ghost believed that the house was haunted Spirits are supposed to haunt the places where their bodies most resorted …— Charles Dickens

intransitive verb

1 : to stay around or persist : linger a haunting fragrance
2 : to appear habitually as a ghost not far from … where she haunted appeared for a short time a much more remarkable spirit— W. B. Yeats


\ ˈhȯnt How to pronounce haunt (audio) , ˈhänt, sense 2 is usually ˈhant \

Definition of haunt (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a place habitually frequented a favorite haunt of college kids
2 chiefly dialectal : ghost

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Other Words from haunt


haunter noun
hauntingly \ ˈhȯn-​tiŋ-​lē How to pronounce hauntingly (audio) , ˈhän-​ \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for haunt

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of haunt in a Sentence

Verb Some people believe that the ghost of an old sea captain haunts the beach. If you ignore the problem, it will come back to haunt you. Their failure to plan ahead is now coming back to haunt them. The tune haunted me all day. Noun The restaurant became one of her favorite haunts. one of their favorite after-school haunts is Joe's Pizza
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb More challenges At least three other issues may haunt offshore wind development in the U.S. John Fialka, Scientific American, "U.S. Offshore Wind Needs to Clear a Key Hurdle: Connecting to the Grid," 3 Aug. 2020 The company still hasn’t fully recovered, as syncing issues and delays continue to haunt corners of the Garmin Connect platform. Brian Barrett, Wired, "The Garmin Hack Was a Warning," 1 Aug. 2020 In The Daily Meal’s list of the best burger in every state, Dallas haunt Maple & Motor is tops in Texas. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, "Dallas burger joint Maple & Motor named best in Texas," 30 July 2020 But the 2020 That Never Was will certainly haunt hundreds of players. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Minor League Baseball's canceled 2020 season a cruel blow in grim 2020 sports year," 30 June 2020 Ideas can be swapped in the knowledge that no electronic trail will come back to haunt you. The Economist, "The 23rd International AIDS Conference This year’s AIDS conference has brought snippets of good news," 8 July 2020 In the first inning, the Rangers were an out away from taking a 1-0 lead into the second inning when a single and walk came back to haunt the Rangers. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Angels southpaw nearly tosses 3-inning perfect game in 10-0 victory at Complex," 7 July 2020 His 2013 opinion in Shelby County v. Holder, which crippled the Voting Rights Act, will haunt his reputation, and the nation, forever. Jeffrey Toobin, The New Yorker, "John Roberts Dissociates Himself from the Trump-McConnell Legal Project," 30 June 2020 Images of children detained alone in immigration holding centers — repeating stories similar to parents’ — haunt him. Dallas News, "Cedar Hill grad pivots from science to law, determined to help others," 15 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun One popular haunt, at least virtually: a dingy underground bunker built by the West German Army in the 1970s. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "What getting hacked will cost you ($3.86 million, approximately)," 29 July 2020 In a recent Instagram post, the HGTV Home Town star, extolled the virtues of Jean's, a beloved haunt for over 40 years in the Eastern Mississippi city that's about an hour Northeast of Napier's homebase of Laurel. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Ben Napier Shares Where To Get Some of the Best Fried Catfish and Cheese Grits in Mississippi," 18 June 2020 The flare-up of infections in Beijing, the seat of Communist Party power and previously considered among the country's safest cities, is a stark reminder of how easily the virus can come back to haunt places where it was thought to have been tamed. Nectar Gan, CNN, "Beijing's new outbreak is a reminder to the world that coronavirus can return at anytime," 18 June 2020 And some bars, like the Maple Leaf, a venerable late night haunt in the Carrollton neighborhood, decided not to open. USA TODAY, "Bars are reopening in New Orleans for the first time in months. Will tourists come?," 14 June 2020 Shortly before the bulldozer bit into their old haunt Tuesday morning, a dark SUV pulled up to the back of the motel. Robert Wilonsky, Dallas News, "Good riddance to the place called the ‘Han Hell,’ where drugs and death were dealt," 3 June 2020 Michael Connelly: In the Oct. 20 Arts & Books section, an article about the Los Angeles haunts of author Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch character said a downtown mural of actor Anthony Quinn was painted in 1961. Los Angeles Times, "For the Record," 21 Oct. 2019 First came the departure of PayPal, the old haunt of Facebook blockchain guru David Marcus, from the Libra Association, the group that plans to administer the cryptocurrency. Wired, "Libra’s Ranks Shrink Again As Crypto Group Appoints a Board," 14 Oct. 2019 Since then many have worked in Iraq and Afghanistan before returning closer to their old haunts. The Economist, "Soldiers of misfortune Why African governments still hire mercenaries," 30 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'haunt.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of haunt


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for haunt

Verb and Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French hanter, probably from Old Norse heimta to lead home, pull, claim, from heimr home

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Time Traveler for haunt

Time Traveler

The first known use of haunt was in the 14th century

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Statistics for haunt

Last Updated

6 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

Haunt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/haunt. Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for haunt


How to pronounce haunt (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of haunt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

of a ghost : to visit or live in (a place)
: to eventually cause problems for (someone) as time passes
: to keep coming back to the mind of (someone) especially in a way that makes the person sad or upset


How to pronounce haunt (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of haunt (Entry 2 of 2)

: a place that you go to often


\ ˈhȯnt How to pronounce haunt (audio) \
haunted; haunting

Kids Definition of haunt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to visit or live in as a ghost Spirits haunt the house.
2 : to visit often … I began haunting the docks when the ferry … came in.— Katherine Paterson, Jacob Have I Loved
3 : to come to mind frequently The song haunts me.



Kids Definition of haunt (Entry 2 of 2)

: a place often visited The café is her favorite haunt.

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More from Merriam-Webster on haunt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for haunt

Spanish Central: Translation of haunt

Nglish: Translation of haunt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of haunt for Arabic Speakers

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