\ˈhȯnt, 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, 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, ˈhän-​ \ adverb

Examples of haunt in a Sentence


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.


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

The Orlando toddler’s story continues to haunt and fascinate. Hal Boedeker, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Caylee Anthony: Belvin Perry discusses toddler's story," 20 June 2018 In 2006, the couple and their two children were living contentedly in Park Slope when Ms. Warren heard about a vacant building on Eighth Avenue in Brooklyn that was said to be haunted. Julie Lasky, New York Times, "Clinton Hill Mansion With a Rock ’n’ Roll History," 8 June 2018 Previous concepts in the building, which was once rumored to be haunted, included the Excalibur nightclub. Ryan Ori, chicagotribune.com, "Celebrity hot spot Tao could unseat Gibsons as Chicago's top moneymaking restaurant," 5 June 2018 One final, haunting poem will stick with me forever. Aaron Schnoor, WSJ, "The Great War Produced Some Great Poetry," 9 Nov. 2018 But as the story unfolds, a mystery seems to emerge almost imperceptibly from the family’s everyday interactions, and the movie eventually becomes something unexpected, surprising, and haunting. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "8 movies out this month that are looking for Oscar season glory," 1 Nov. 2018 So wise predictor of outcomes, what’s happening this week that is going to keep haunting the world of tech and business for months to come? Eric Johnson, Recode, "Tesla’s board is too weak to stop its CEO Elon Musk from tweeting," 5 Oct. 2018 There are plenty of questions haunting Mercury scientists, especially in the wake of the Messenger orbiter, which gathered data from 2011 to 2015. Meghan Bartels, Space.com, "What Would It Take to Land on Mercury? It's Time to Find Out, Scientists Say," 30 Aug. 2018 The Blue Lady, Moss Beach Distillery The winding, wooded drive to this former speakeasy and allegedly haunted restaurant sets the mood for cozy imbibing. Jeanne Cooper, SFChronicle.com, "Where to watch the sunset with a cocktail around Half Moon Bay," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The two-story home, on the market for $2.895 million, was the longtime haunt of film icon Mickey Rooney. Jack Flemming, latimes.com, "Longtime Westlake Village home of entertainer Mickey Rooney seeks $2.9 million," 22 May 2018 Inner Loop Mongoose Versus Cobra The chalkboard grid spanning one wall in this hip Midtown haunt lists the more than 40 beers on tap, including options from Europe and at least a dozen from Texas. Jody Schmal & Greg Morago, Houston Chronicle, "Where to tipple craft beer in Houston," 10 May 2018 The Fullerton Bay Hotel The vast lobby, with its high ceilings and dramatic arches, frames this haunt of the glamorous. Audrey Phoon, Condé Nast Traveler, "25 Best Hotels in Singapore," 28 Feb. 2018 The city is growing again, and some of Bulger’s former haunts have been washed away by gentrification. Jennifer Levitz, WSJ, "Notorious Boston Mobster ‘Whitey’ Bulger Dies in Prison," 31 Oct. 2018 Spooky spots: Shadowy figures have been reported not only in the Shanghai Tunnels, but in nearby haunts above ground. Condé Nast Traveler, "8 Most Haunted Cities In America and Why You Should Visit," 18 Oct. 2018 Little Barn 1050 Post Road East, Westport Popular local haunt in a funky, little barn. Sarah Wesley Lemire, courant.com, "Five Connecticut Shoreline Destinations: All You Need To Know," 15 May 2018 In 2010, federal wildlife authorities launched an ambitious recovery program that included captive breeding at institutions including zoos, trout removal in some of their ancestral haunts and, in certain areas, barring public access. Louis Sahagun, latimes.com, "Born in a zoo, released into the San Gabriels, a rare Los Angeles frog bounces back," 27 June 2018 Here are Clark’s recommendations for a trip to his bay — a mix of old haunts, hip new spots and plenty activities that involve a healthy sea breeze. David Ferry, SFChronicle.com, "Mavericks legend Jeff Clark’s favorite spots in Half Moon Bay," 10 July 2018

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


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


see haunt entry 1

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Statistics for haunt

Last Updated

29 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for haunt

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

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More Definitions for haunt



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



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

: a place that you go to often


\ˈhȯnt \
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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