\ 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

affect, frequent, habituate, hang (at), resort (to), visit

Synonyms: Noun

hangout, purlieu, rendezvous, resort, stamping ground, stomping ground

Antonyms: Verb

avoid, shun

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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

We’ve all been haunted by a text left on read or the sweet, lingering smell of someone whose presence sparks a flame in our gut. Kynala Phillips, Essence, "Me&Somebody: Revolutionizing Black Love One Meme At A Time," 8 July 2019 Users suffer haunting humiliations and threats of violence. Katy Steinmetz, Time, "Inside Instagram's War on Bullying," 8 July 2019 For as long as humans have lived, we’ve been haunted by our inevitable deaths. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Humans don’t actually want to be immortal, we just want to be forever young," 27 June 2019 That night was just one in a series of haunting moments that have imprinted themselves on Williams’ brain, calling her to advocacy work. USA Today, "A deadly place: Alaska is the most dangerous state for women, now they're fighting back," 25 June 2019 For an even more heartbreaking read, see this brave and haunting book by Belarusian journalist Svetlana Alexievich, who scooped up the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature. NBC News, "Obsessed with 'Fleabag', 'Big Little Lies' or 'Chernobyl'? Binge on one of these books next.," 24 June 2019 Most observers agree that the legacy of the Troubles, in which Sinn Fein’s armed alter ego was the bloodiest participant, still haunts the party, 21 years after the IRA signed up for peace. The Economist, "A former voice of violence hopes to enter Ireland’s government," 22 June 2019 Hypodermic needles pierce her back, darkness clouds her eyes, and lights flicker across her face as the star haunts her sleeping friend. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 20 Best Music Videos of 2019 (So Far): Staff Picks," 20 June 2019 Tour the grand, whitewashed European quarters and then descend to the dungeons, haunting reminders of one of history’s most barbaric chapters. National Geographic, "Africa by Private Jet," 12 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Tucked inside an open-air shopping mall, Ansley’s Mini-Cinema lay on the border of the wealthy neighborhood Ansley Park, across the park from Atlanta’s main gay haunt at the time, Midtown. Michael Waters, Smithsonian, "The Stonewall of the South That History Forgot," 25 June 2019 Ben Oleynik has a very special haunt in midtown Manhattan. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "This New York City Skate Brand Thinks Magazines Are Here to Stay," 14 Dec. 2018 This is a world apart from Bavaria’s tourist haunts like the Romantic Road and Neuschwanstein Castle. Adam H. Graham, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Perfect Long Weekend in Bavaria," 17 Sep. 2018 From haunts and ghosts to craft cocktails, trick-or-treating and more, there's something for everyone — no matter your scare level — this weekend. Gege Reed, The Courier-Journal, "Get your 'boo' on this week at these wickedly good Halloween events in Louisville," 24 Oct. 2017 The island has been the haunt of monks, monarchs, aristocrats, artists, writers, and famous performers. Vanessa Lawrence, ELLE Decor, "This Former Party Island for British Royals is Now a Chic New Hotel," 18 June 2019 While the singer didn’t speak openly about his life in Zanzibar, Queen fans can now enjoy guided tours around his boyhood haunts — including his family’s apartment and their place of worship, Zoroastrian temple. Phil Boucher, PEOPLE.com, "Brian May Shares Photos from 'Pilgrimage' to Freddie Mercury's Childhood Home in Zanzibar," 11 June 2019 These are the haunts of the Cleveland Orchestra, three of the musical capitals of Europe. Zachary Lewis, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra warming up for historic tour of Europe," 4 June 2019 To all New York party people who began their Eastern migration this weekend, news that SurfLodge, the beloved Montauk haunt, would be closed, caused quite a stir. Ian Malone, Vogue, "Solid & Striped and Re/Done Hosted a Tie Dye Party in Montauk—Summer has Arrived," 28 May 2019

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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Statistics for haunt

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

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 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

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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