\ 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

Other Words from haunt


haunter noun
hauntingly \ ˈhȯn-​tiŋ-​lē How to pronounce haunt (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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Ahead of the July 15 premiere of the film adaptation, however, Where the Crawdads Sing author Delia Owen's past has come to light—or, more accurately, has come back to haunt her. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, 14 July 2022 Jade is now 30 and struggling to survive in this world, burdened with secrets that still haunt her from the past. Andy Meek, BGR, 13 July 2022 The uniforms were scratchy and ugly, a maroon, gray, yellow, and white plaid that would haunt me for decades. ELLE, 6 July 2022 This means more immersive atmospheres, more attention to the creatures that haunt the lines and more bloody props. Christopher Borrelli, Chicago Tribune, 15 June 2022 Finally, Solicitor General Robert Bork agreed to fire Cox, a decision that would haunt him in his unsuccessful effort to be confirmed to the Supreme Court in 1987. Washington Post, 13 June 2022 Centering around two ghosts who haunt their former home, Beetlejuice will definitely play up both the laughs and the scares. Hannah Jeon, Good Housekeeping, 23 May 2022 At first, Natasha’s antipathy toward parenthood feels refreshingly specific, with its focus on the mundane degradations that can haunt the imaginations of the happily childless. New York Times, 12 May 2022 By that summer, Wong seemed to be hinting at an intention to disappear, in ways that now haunt his friends. Raffi Khatchadourian, The New Yorker, 9 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Over a couple of hours taking photos on a hot afternoon in Midtown Manhattan and then finding a quiet local haunt for our interview, the actor smiles often, laughs hard, and seems to enjoy chatting over some refreshments and air conditioning. Evan Romano, Men's Health, 8 July 2022 As the name suggests, this Midtown bar is a popular haunt among Canadian sports fans, specifically for hockey games. Megha Mcswain, Chron, 4 June 2022 Political junkies should check out Off the Record—an upscale hotel bar and a favorite haunt of politicians. Molly Hanson, Outside Online, 25 Mar. 2022 Imax and premium large-format screens, the favorite haunt of younger consumers, account for a huge share of all ticket revenue. Pamela Mcclintock, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 Feb. 2022 And the new world champion Warriors won their NBA basketball title with their home court in San Francisco, rather than their longtime haunt, once known as the Oakland Coliseum Arena. James Raineystaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 30 June 2022 Their haunt became the Fountain Lanes, a bowling alley in Alabama that Gilbreth managed and Jones often visited. New York Times, 21 Apr. 2022 Father and daughter David and Mary Titus are longtime regulars who were thrilled to learn their favorite Tex-Mex haunt did not shutter. Megha Mcswain, Chron, 6 Apr. 2022 The show revolves around Sarma Melngailis, who opened her New York City health haunt, Pure Food and Wine, in 2005. Skyler Caruso, PEOPLE.com, 14 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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 haunten, hanten "to frequent, frequent the company of, dwell in, engage in, practice (a vice or virtue), perform," borrowed from Anglo-French hanter (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.


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"

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

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Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Haunt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/haunt. Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for haunt


\ 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on haunt

Nglish: Translation of haunt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of haunt for Arabic Speakers


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