\ 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

affect, 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

Each attraction has themed haunted areas to walk through, games like Crypt Cornhole and Dead Man’s Chess, and themed bars hidden in haunted areas. Jordyn Noennig, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Deer District becomes the Fear District with haunted houses, Halloween movies and more beginning Sept. 26," 3 Sep. 2019 And, obviously, that painful legacy still haunts us. Los Angeles Times, "Cheerleader’s blackface video raises ghosts of Fresno’s racist past," 31 Aug. 2019 The wage gap is a blatantly unfair vestige of a patriarchal labor system that haunts women’s economic potential throughout their lives. Toni Van Pelt, Fortune, "The Paycheck Fairness Act Would Help Close the Gender Wage Gap. Why Won’t the Senate Pass It?," 26 Aug. 2019 Show more replies − + Mojorisin • a day ago The 2017 draft still haunts us, Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson were still on the board when Lynch took Solomon Thomas #3. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, "Kurtenbach: You can’t brush off Jimmy Garoppolo’s horrible preseason debut," 19 Aug. 2019 The events of that day have haunted Carolyn Abel's family for more than 30 years. Peter Van Sant, CBS News, "Is justice out of reach for an American teacher murdered in South Korea?," 10 Aug. 2019 The ghost of Perry still haunts the daily lives of these women. Morgan Baila, refinery29.com, "Big Little Lies Season 2, Episode 6: 10 Things I Resent About You," 15 July 2019 All the while, the island was being put to a grisly use that still haunts it. Rich Cohen, WSJ, "The Hidden History of Liberty Island," 11 July 2019 And with the defeat to Manchester United on penalties in 2008 still haunting fans and players alike, no one could picture that the Blues would get their hands on the 'trophy with the big ears' in Bayern's own backyard. SI.com, "Frank Lampard: On This Day the Legendary Midfielder Signed for Chelsea," 14 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Haunted Graveyard: Lake Compounce hosts a terrifying mile-long journey through darkly glittering catacombs to an eerie graveyard, to a vampire’s haunt, to a witch’s lair, then onto a misty lake and an ancient temple. Camila Vallejo, courant.com, "Where are the haunted houses in Connecticut? Here’s an early list," 22 Aug. 2019 While there are more than 117 barbecue restaurants in town, don’t miss the classics, including Rendezvous, Germantown Commissary, and Elvis’ old haunt, Leonard’s Pit Barbecue. Anna Mazurek, al.com, "Get your fill of barbecue on this Southern road trip," 27 June 2019 Tiki fans can add another cocktail haunt to their list when Esotico debuts on Aug. 15. Susan Bryant, sun-sentinel.com, "Tiki to the limit: Esotico bar brings exotic cocktails to Miami," 15 Aug. 2019 The group that petitioned to move Halloween to the last Saturday of October has a new proposal: Rather than change the date, why not add a whole extra day of spooks and haunts? Scottie Andrew And Brian Ries, CNN, "The people behind that Halloween petition want to create a new holiday: National Trick or Treat Day," 31 July 2019 But by collecting them all in one place over time, Who’s in Town transforms data points that are seemingly meaningless in isolation, into a comprehensive chronology of the habits and haunts of anyone with a public Instagram account. Nitasha Tiku, WIRED, "This App Lets Your Instagram Followers Track Your Location," 19 July 2019 Tucked inside an open-air shopping mall, Ansley’s Mini-Cinema lay on the border of the wealthy neighborhood Ansley Park, across the park from Atlanta’s main gay haunt at the time, Midtown. Michael Waters, Smithsonian, "The Stonewall of the South That History Forgot," 25 June 2019 The prowling ground of the Cordova Cat Burglar was also Joe DeAngelo’s childhood haunt. Tribune News Service, oregonlive.com, "The Man in the Window: Is this the childhood of a serial killer? (Part One)," 22 June 2019 Fresh off the debut of buzzy Westside rooftop haunt Élephante, restaurateur and interior designer Nick Mathers is cooking up something new in a familiar L.A. space. Danielle Directo-meston, The Hollywood Reporter, "Hollywood-Loved Restaurateur Unveils Greek Eatery, Kassi Club," 14 June 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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Statistics for haunt

Last Updated

6 Sep 2019

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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with haunt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for haunt

Spanish Central: Translation of haunt

Nglish: Translation of haunt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of haunt for Arabic Speakers

Comments on haunt

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one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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