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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English haunten (to reside, inhabit, use, employ), from Old French hanter (to inhabit, frequent, resort to), from Old Norman hanter ("to go back home, frequent"), from Old Norse heimta (to bring home, fetch) or/and from Old English hāmettan (to bring home; house; cohabit with); both from Proto-Germanic *haimatjaną (to house, bring home), from Proto-Germanic *haimaz (village, home), from Proto-Indo-European *kōym- (village). Cognate with Old English hāmettan (to provide housing to, bring home); related to Old English hām (home, village), Old French hantin (a stay, a place frequented by) from the same Germanic source. Another descendant from the French is Dutch hanteren, whence German hantieren, Swedish hantera, Danish håndtere. More at home.



haunt (third-person singular simple present haunts, present participle haunting, simple past and past participle haunted)

  1. (transitive) To inhabit, or visit frequently (most often used in reference to ghosts).
    A couple of ghosts haunt the old, burnt-down house.
    • c. 1597, William Shakespeare, “The Merry VViues of VVindsor”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene iv]:
      You wrong me, sir, thus still to haunt my house.
    • (Can we date this quote by Jonathan Swift and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      those cares that haunt the court and town
    • (Can we date this quote by Fairfax and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      Foul spirits haunt my resting place.
  2. (transitive) To make uneasy, restless.
    The memory of his past failures haunted him.
  3. (transitive) To stalk, to follow
    The policeman haunted him, following him everywhere.
  4. (intransitive, now rare) To live habitually; to stay, to remain.
    • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, John XI:
      Jesus therfore walked no more openly amonge the iewes: butt went his waye thence vnto a countre ny to a wildernes into a cite called effraym, and there haunted with his disciples.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.x:
      yonder in that wastefull wildernesse / Huge monsters haunt, and many dangers dwell []
  5. (transitive, Britain dialectal, Northern England, Scotland) To accustom; habituate; make accustomed to.
    • (Can we date this quote by Wyclif and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      Haunt thyself to pity.
  6. (transitive, Britain dialectal, Northern England, Scotland) To practise; to devote oneself to.
    • (Can we date this quote by Ascham and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      Leave honest pleasure, and haunt no good pastime.
  7. (intransitive) To persist in staying or visiting.



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


haunt (plural haunts)

  1. A place at which one is regularly found; a habitation or hangout.
    • 1819, Washington Irving, The Sketch Book, Rip Van Winkle:
      It is a great rock or cliff on the loneliest part of the mountains, and, … is known by the name of the Garden Rock. Near the foot of it is a small lake, the haunt of the solitary bittern, with water-snakes basking in the sun on the leaves of the pond-lilies which lie on the surface.
    • 1868, Louisa May Alcott, "Kitty's Class Day":
      Both Jack and Fletcher had graduated the year before, but still took an interest in their old haunts, and patronized the fellows who were not yet through.
    • 1984, Timothy Loughran and Natalie Angier, "Science: Striking It Rich in Wyoming," Time, 8 Oct.:
      Wyoming has been a favorite haunt of paleontologists for the past century ever since westering pioneers reported that many vertebrate fossils were almost lying on the ground.
    • 2018, Michael Coogan, ‎Marc Brettler, ‎Carol Newsom, The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha:
      It shall be the haunt of jackals, an abode for ostriches.
  2. (dialect) A ghost.
    • 1891, Mary Noailles Murfree, In the "Stranger People's" Country, Nebraska 2005, page 93:
      Harnts don't wander much ginerally,’ he said. ‘They hand round thar own buryin'-groun' mainly.’
  3. A feeding place for animals.[2]



  1. 1.0 1.1 Dictionary.com
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, second edition (1989)