\ 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 The team writes for the that many of these cues are vocal, like the chipper whistles of dolphins or the haunting songs of humpback whales. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "In a First, Scientists Film Wild Grey Seals Clapping to Show Their Strength," 6 Feb. 2020 Fernando Meirelles’s film probes Francis’s reformist spirit, delving into a haunted past that undergirds his principled humility. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "Oscars 2020 Spotlight: The Actors," 5 Feb. 2020 Guðnadóttir already took home a Golden Globe for best original score - motion picture for Joker's haunting soundtrack in January. Ashley Iasimone, Billboard, "'Joker' Composer Hildur Guonadottir Wins Best Score at 2020 BAFTA Awards," 2 Feb. 2020 The 2859 University Drive End Zone is a go-to haunt for local service industry workers and musicians. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, "What’s coming to former Moe’s BBQ in South Huntsville?," 31 Jan. 2020 Artist Clinton Millsap of Spring/Klein won first place in the 50th Assistance League of Houston’s Celebrate Texas Art Show with his haunting portrait Recover. Staff Report, Houston Chronicle, "Area artists win top spots at Assistance League of Houston show," 30 Jan. 2020 Related: Take an epic Nevada road trip on this lonely, haunting highway. National Geographic, "Real cowboys write poems. Here’s where to hear them.," 28 Jan. 2020 A few months back, Ars caught up with Myst developer Rand Miller (who co-created the game with his brother Robyn Miller) at the Cyan offices in Washington state to ask about the process of bringing the haunting island world to life. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Video: How Myst’s designers stuffed an entire universe onto a single CD-ROM," 28 Jan. 2020 Those haunting memories drove him to become a physician after leaving the military. NBC News, "SEAL, doctor, astronaut: Jonny Kim goes where few Korean Americans have gone before," 17 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Mike Pechner began 2020 by prowling odd corners of San Francisco and revisiting old haunts like the coldest spots in the city. Carl Nolte, SFChronicle.com, "A walk in the fog to see San Francisco’s coldest corners," 4 Jan. 2020 On his perfect day in the District, Meadows would hit some old haunts and, naturally, jam with a few friends. Thomas Floyd, Washington Post, "Jazz musician Mark G. Meadows jams deep into the night on his D.C. Dream Day," 31 July 2019 The stories, and sentences, hold an atmosphere of haunt and mystery, as the girls are deposited into heated young adulthood and then potent womanhood. Nina Maclaughlin, BostonGlobe.com, "Poetic comics, an arresting debut, and lines from a local lawmaker," 27 June 2019 Cka Ka Qellu ★★ When all your regular haunts start to look the same, a night at Cka Ka Qellu is in order. Pete Wells, New York Times, "New York’s Top 10 New Restaurants of 2019," 10 Dec. 2019 Why Fort Lauderdale? Mendín wants to revitalize the old Las Olas Riverfront – one of his nightlife haunts during his 20s – and open as hundreds of urban pioneers shuffle into the city’s many new downtown residential lofts. Phillip Valys, sun-sentinel.com, "Jose Mendin’s Rivertail restaurant docking on Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Riverfront," 10 Sep. 2019 For bassist Matt Mangano and multi-instrumentalist Clay Cook, though, the band’s Fenway shows are a return to one of their college haunts. Maura Johnston, BostonGlobe.com, "At Fenway, Zac Brown Band has a winning streak to maintain," 29 Aug. 2019 After all, the city of Nottingham and the surrounding Sherwood Forest are believed to be the traditional haunts of legendary outlaw Robin Hood. Dominic Rech, CNN, "Soccer club donates 3,000 food parcels to the homeless after match washed out," 28 Oct. 2019 New for 2019, the haunt themes are Creature Feature and Other Side. Doug George, chicagotribune.com, "Haunted houses in Chicago 2019: Blood, screams and scares — now open," 26 Sep. 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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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

8 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Haunt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/haunted. Accessed 18 Feb. 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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