\ 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

Still, the events of the day continue to haunt him. Essence, "DeAndre Harris Says He Still Receives Threats From White Supremacists More Than Two Years After Charlottesville," 17 Sep. 2019 Today, American malls seem more likely to appear in haunting photographs than as the core of teens’ social life. Michelle Delgado, The Atlantic, "What the Starcourt Mall Means to the World of Stranger Things," 17 July 2019 While Hadrian's Villa is about haunting ruins and a storied history, Villa d'Este is simply beautiful and relaxing. Jayme Deerwester, USA TODAY, "Tivoli: Why this Italian city is still Rome's great escape, 2,000 years later," 16 July 2019 In haunting footage, the doomed Apollo 1 astronauts talk about the space program. Hal Boedeker, orlandosentinel.com, "‘Chasing the Moon’: PBS’ incisive look at NASA, Apollo 11," 2 July 2019 Different rituals address different needs, including helping mourners cope with grief and cleansing haunting memories from the minds of survivors and rescue workers. Carlo Gabuco, National Geographic, "Death rituals help restless spirits find peace in the Philippines," 9 Apr. 2019 The Baltimore artist transforms these into haunting self-portraits by adding wax, plaster and paint that both complement and supplement the wooden shapes. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: ‘Habitats’ at Target Gallery showcases the nature of creativity," 6 Sep. 2019 Anfora Awarded a Wine Spectator’s 2019 Award of Excellence, this Manhattan haunt focuses on old world and natural wines, with a rustic, down-to-Earth atmosphere. The Plum Guide, Harper's BAZAAR, "Eat Chic: 13 Cozy Wine Bars in NYC to Visit ASAP," 12 Aug. 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Every single night, 80 artists from 14 countries perform two shows at this venerated haunt. Juliet Izon, Condé Nast Traveler, "Where to Drink and Dance in Paris, According to Moulin Rouge's Lead Dancer," 9 Aug. 2019 Good for lions, but probably not snakes One potential concern with the tourist method is that safari guides might have a good idea of the favorite haunts of certain species, and thus be able to reliably find those spots. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Safari tourist snaps could produce useful conservation data," 25 July 2019 For a unique karaoke experience in Nashville, drink up some courage at late-night haunt Santa’s Pub (615-593-1872, santaspub.com) and hit the stage at this double-wide dive bar to channel your inner country star. Sarah Rodman, BostonGlobe.com, "The music lover’s ultimate guide to visiting Nashville," 15 Mar. 2018 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

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

20 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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formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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