\ 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 trial could mark the final chapter in a mystery that has haunted Sioux Falls for nearly four decades. NBC News, "Police lifted DNA from her trash and charged her with a baby's 1981 murder. She says that was illegal.," 15 Mar. 2020 Least-favorite memory The university underwent a reduction in force in 2013 that still haunts Graham. Michael Perry, Cincinnati.com, "Xavier University President Michael Graham: 'It’s all pretty overwhelming'," 4 Mar. 2020 My performance is forever-immortalized in the score cards posted on the internet that will haunt me till the end of time. Tyler Freel, Outdoor Life, "Shooting in Competitions Will Make You a Better Bowhunter," 6 Feb. 2020 The office of the independent police auditor was among several outcomes of the fatal shooting of Grant — a moment that haunts BART to this day. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "BART’s independent police watchdog: A key to reform, even if you’ve never heard of him," 7 Jan. 2020 The football mistakes that haunted DaeSean Hamilton were finally exorcised Sunday at Mile High. Kyle Fredrickson, The Denver Post, "DaeSean Hamilton relishes career day in Broncos win: “The guy is super-duper intelligent”," 22 Dec. 2019 Allowing Maddux to leave town was a decision that haunted the Cubs for years. David Haugh, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Trading Kris Bryant would be a huge mistake for the Cubs," 10 Dec. 2019 And based on the trailer, he's apparently moved across the country and is preparing for another round of unnerving schemes that will forever haunt me in my sleep. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, ""You" Season 2 Trailer Takes Penn Badgley's Joe to Los Angeles," 6 Dec. 2019 Cleveland got out to a 10-0 lead, but the mistakes and penalties that have haunted the team all year resumed. John Clayton, courant.com, "As NFL’s Black Monday approaches, these eight coaches are on the hot seat," 2 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Local patrons lamented takeout won't be the same and visiting their favorite haunts. Alexander Coolidge, Cincinnati.com, "Coronavirus: Ohio restaurant group urges customers order takeout, Jeff Ruby talks saving jobs," 15 Mar. 2020 Yeah Yeahs, at their favorite haunt, Jumbo’s Clown Room, a no-nudity bikini bar in Hollywood where a prestardom Courtney Love used to pole dance. Phoebe Reilly, New York Times, "Savages’ Jehnny Beth Is Going Solo. Don’t Tell Her It’s a Mistake.," 5 Feb. 2020 One of their favorite haunts is an old fashioned outhouse. Tim Macwelch, Outdoor Life, "The 10 Most Dangerous Spiders in the World," 11 Nov. 2019 Tarale Wulff, an aspiring actress who met Weinstein in 2005 while working as a cocktail server at one of his favorite Manhattan haunts, testified later Wednesday. CBS News, "Harvey Weinstein fumed "this is how the industry works," accuser testifies," 29 Jan. 2020 And the century-old haunt had turned off its fryers, stopped its shipments, and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Shirley Leung, BostonGlobe.com, "An unceremonious end to a storied 102-year-old Boston establishment," 31 Dec. 2019 In its early days, the downtown haunt attracted Andy Warhol and his Factory set. Vogue, "Interview Magazine Celebrated 50 Years and a New Book With a Cocktail-Soaked Downtown Dinner," 30 Oct. 2019 According to Finneran, every year their kids and their friends help build the haunts and then run the event, including by frightening the attendees throughout the night. Sharina Taveras Lopez, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "‘Graveyard shift’: Eldersburg family uses Halloween-themed yard to collect donations for Food Sunday," 28 Oct. 2019 The finished film, which will rank the haunts, will be available for purchase on the website nothingbuthaunts.com. Chris Kaltenbach, baltimoresun.com, "Documentary to capture horrors of Bennett’s Curse haunted attraction in Baltimore," 4 Oct. 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

21 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Haunt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/haunt. Accessed 29 Mar. 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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