\ 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 In Chekhov’s much shorter narratives, the issue emerges as a question that haunts the protagonists. Tim Parks, The New York Review of Books, "A Novel Way to Think About Literary Categories," 25 May 2020 The scenes that haunted me the most in the book weren’t the ones with lungs frothily disintegrating into pink mush or world leaders bleeding on-camera from their eyeballs. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Strange Comfort of Reading a Pandemic Novel," 13 May 2020 As America fights the coronavirus and its collateral economic damage, the possibility that haunts us is the Great Depression. Ron Charles, Washington Post, "12 novels that changed the way we live," 7 May 2020 These are homely examples of a profound issue that haunts both science and the human condition: the specter of local maxima. Frank Wilczek, WSJ, "Good Enough Versus Even Better," 30 Apr. 2020 Later, Duncan called it the misfire that haunted him most. 18. Jeff Mcdonald, ExpressNews.com, "21 for 21: Celebrating certain Hall of Famer Tim Duncan," 3 Apr. 2020 Ahead of more new music, Social Animals curated this week’s #TBT Mixtape to spotlight 10 essential tracks that still haunt them from their youth and featuring titles by The Cure, Wilco, The Postal Service and others. Nick Williams, Billboard, "Listen to Rise Records' Signee Social Animals' #TBT Mixtape," 23 Jan. 2020 And yet, any mention of her today is haunted by the mystery and speculation that still surrounds her tragic death at the age of 43. Anne Cohen, refinery29.com, "Natalie Wood Was So Much More Than Her Devastating Death," 5 May 2020 The family was not allowed to talk about Mary, said Calgaro, who was haunted by what happened. Correspondent Maureen Maher, CBS News, "Could a suspected murder victim — back from the dead — really be an impostor?," 2 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Since then many have worked in Iraq and Afghanistan before returning closer to their old haunts. The Economist, "Soldiers of misfortune Why African governments still hire mercenaries," 30 May 2020 That’s making Wuhan residents wary of returning to their previous haunts and routines. Bloomberg.com, "Residents Rush Trains, Take to Highways as Wuhan Lifts Lockdown," 19 May 2020 Notice how your usual Dallas haunts look abandoned these days? Manuel Mendoza, Dallas News, "‘Imagine’ all the people: Bruce Wood dancer performs in familiar but now empty Dallas gathering spots," 16 Apr. 2020 Seeing your favorite Hoosier haunts on the big screen never gets old. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, "7 cool movies that were just filmed — or are about to be — in Indianapolis and Indiana," 25 Mar. 2020 Last year, that included tickets to locales as exotic as Kazakhstan and Bahrain, in addition to the usual haunts of American politicians, like Washington D.C. and gatherings of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Andrew Oxford, azcentral, "Honolulu and ... Kazakhstan? See where Arizona lawmakers traveled on free trips in 2019," 12 Feb. 2020 And as perfect as Paros seems, in recent years its smaller satellite, Antiparos (the name is a little absurd, almost comical, like antimatter), has become still more fashionable, a haunt of American rock and movie stars. Adam Gopnik, Town & Country, "My First Visit to the Greek Islands Turned Out to Be a Journey Home," 20 May 2019 Things really take a dark turn when at a random point in the game a player triggers a haunt and turns into a traitor hellbent on defeating the other players. René A. Guzman, ExpressNews.com, "From Guess Who and Catlan to flinging burritos, here are the best board games for family game night," 3 Apr. 2020 Food John deBary has tended bar in New York for over a decade at famed haunts, including Please Don’t Tell, and spent several years as the corporate bar director for the Momofuku Restaurant Group. Samuel Rutter, New York Times, "Where to Donate to Bolster a Quieted Arts Scene," 3 Apr. 2020

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

30 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Haunt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/haunt. Accessed 4 Jun. 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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