haunt

1 of 2

verb

ˈhȯnt How to pronounce haunt (audio)
ˈhänt
haunted; haunting; haunts

transitive verb

1
a
: 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 portsVan Wyck Brooks
2
a
: 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 spiritW. B. Yeats
haunter noun
hauntingly adverb

haunt

2 of 2

noun

ˈhȯnt How to pronounce haunt (audio)
ˈhänt,
 sense 2 is usually  ˈhant
1
: a place habitually frequented
a favorite haunt of college kids
2
chiefly dialectal : ghost

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
But Morrow’s quiet intensity, which doesn’t soft-pedal Isaac’s arrogance and belligerence, has a haunting quality. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 16 July 2024 Inspired by actual events, this powerful drama takes audiences on a haunting journey through one of the most infamous trials in history, examining the depths of human evil and the quest for justice. Linda Chase, Sun Sentinel, 15 July 2024
Noun
From historic haunts to reservation-only tasting rooms, read on for the Vogue guide to the best cafés in Paris now. Sophie Dodd, Vogue, 17 July 2024 What was once one of Europe’s most famous celebrity beach haunts in the 1960s and 1970s still attracts an alluring crowd with its lush gardens and tranquil design. Paul Brady, Travel + Leisure, 9 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for haunt 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'haunt.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English haunten, hanten "to frequent, frequent the company of, dwell in, engage in, practice (a vice or virtue), perform," borrowed from Anglo-French hanter, haunter (also continental Old French), of uncertain origin

Note: The origin of the French word has been much argued over in the past century and a half. Given the initial h aspiré (meaning the initial h was pronounced into early modern French and still blocks elision of preceding vowels), the word has usually been given a Germanic source. Perhaps most frequently it has been traced to the Old Norse verb reflected in Old Icelandic heimta "to draw, pull, call on, claim, crave, get back, recover," despite semantic and phonetic objections. Also proffered has been a presumed Old Low Franconian *haimiþōn "to shelter, accommodate." Both etyma are derivatives of Germanic *haima- "dwelling" (see home entry 1). The possibility of a spoken Latin source has been revived in Dictionnaire étymologique de l'ancien français (on line), which suggests *ambitāre, from Latin ambitus "circuit" (see ambit)—see full discussion and bibliography there.

Noun

Middle English haunt, hant "frequent visiting, resort, a place frequented, habitual practice of something, usage," borrowed from Anglo-French hant, haunt, derivative of hanter "to frequent, haunt entry 1"

First Known Use

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near haunt

Cite this Entry

“Haunt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/haunt. Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

haunt

1 of 2 verb
ˈhȯnt How to pronounce haunt (audio)
ˈhänt
1
: to visit often : frequent
they haunted the antique shops
2
a
: to have a disturbing or harmful effect on
problems we ignore now will come back to haunt us
b
: to come back to the mind of again and again
the song haunted me all day
3
: to visit or live in as a ghost
spirits haunted the house
haunter noun
hauntingly adverb

haunt

2 of 2 noun
ˈhȯnt How to pronounce haunt (audio)
ˈhänt
: a place repeatedly visited

More from Merriam-Webster on haunt

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