\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

Synonyms & Antonyms for haunt

Synonyms: Verb

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

That can continue to haunt them, hobbling efforts to find new places to live. Kevin Crowe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'He'll evict you in a minute.' Landlord quietly becomes a force in Milwaukee rental business...and eviction court," 13 July 2018 The crisis continues to haunt South Africa and has spilled into Namibia and Zimbabwe, Ellis said. Lindsey Bever, latimes.com, "Poachers were looking for rhinos. They found hungry lions instead, game reserve says," 6 July 2018 The crisis continues to haunt South Africa and has spilled into Namibia and Zimbabwe, Ellis said. Deanna Paul, Washington Post, "Suspected poachers were looking for rhinos. They found hungry lions instead, game reserve owner says.," 5 July 2018 But Resurrection Mary, as the girl's ghost came to be known, continued to haunt Archer Avenue. Edward Mcclelland, Chicago Reader, "Meet Resurrection Mary, the ghost of Archer Avenue," 26 June 2018 Questions over Margaritaville continue to haunt City Hall. Susannah Bryan, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Hollywood demands documents on Margaritaville sale to see if it's owed money," 19 June 2018 This common view ignores an ugly history that continues to haunt the workplace. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "raceAhead: The Asian Glass Ceiling," 4 June 2018 Almost exactly a decade after their granddaughter's disappearance, George and Cindy Anthony opened up about how Caylee Anthony's unexplained death continues to haunt their lives. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Casey Anthony's Parents Speak Out in a New Heartbreaking Interview," 29 May 2018 Rebounds have continued to haunt Holtby throughout the postseason. W.g. Ramirez, The Seattle Times, "Goalies under siege in Game 1 shootout between Caps, Knights," 28 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Faison modeled the space after her favorite friendly European tapas haunts. Kara Baskin, BostonGlobe.com, "You’ll be delighted by this Fool’s Errand," 28 June 2018 One of American drama's most intriguing case studies, Hickey is the hardware salesman who returns to his old tawdry haunt not on one of his periodic benders but on a mission to reform the resident inebriates of their belief in a better tomorrow. Charles Mcnulty, latimes.com, "A revelatory Denzel Washington in 'The Iceman Cometh'," 10 May 2018 Mangiafico’s Bakery, a few blocks away on East Main, was another Robar haunt. Bill Leukhardt, Courant Community, "Plainville Says Goodbye To JoJo," 13 June 2018 But the bar list for Rocky River also contains a handful of blue collar haunts and even an authentic Irish Pub, giving the city plenty of variety. cleveland.com, "A Rocky River bar guide," 14 Feb. 2018 This part of America that had once belonged to my childhood became the spotlight of national news in the winter of 2016, when the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge — an old childhood haunt — became the scene of a cowboy takeover. Jennifer Percy, New York Times, "Fear of the Federal Government in the Ranchlands of Oregon," 18 Jan. 2018 Docks Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill, a spacious Midtown restaurant, doesn’t advertise itself as a haunt for New York’s power-brokers, and its staff is tight-lipped about the establishment’s political clientele. Mike Vilensky, WSJ, "The Oyster Bar Where the Governor Brokers Deals While Breaking Bread," 8 July 2018 The Saltgrass Steak House restaurant is opening at a familiar steakhouse haunt, the former location of Lone Star Steakhouse, which closed earlier this year at 13287 S.R. 535 in southern Orange County. Kyle Arnold, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Steakhouse chain Saltgrass opening near Disney," 8 June 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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Phrases Related to haunt

come back to haunt

Statistics for haunt

Last Updated

18 Oct 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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