\ˈhənt \
hunted; hunting; hunts

Definition of hunt 

(Entry 1 of 5)

transitive verb

1a : to pursue for food or in sport hunt buffalo

b : to manage in the search for game hunts a pack of dogs

2a : to pursue with intent to capture hunted the escapees

b : to search out : seek

3 : to drive or chase especially by harrying members … were hunted from their homes— J. T. Adams

4 : to traverse in search of prey hunts the woods

intransitive verb

1 : to take part in a hunt

2 : to attempt to find something

3 : to oscillate alternately to each side (as of a neutral point) or to run alternately faster and slower used especially of a device or machine



Definition of hunt (Entry 2 of 5)

1 : the act, the practice, or an instance of hunting

2 : a group of mounted hunters and their hunting dogs


biographical name (1)
\ˈhənt \

Definition of Hunt (Entry 3 of 5)

(James Henry) Leigh 1784–1859 English writer


biographical name (2)

Definition of Hunt (Entry 4 of 5)

Sir R(ichard) Timothy 1943–     British molecular biologist


biographical name (3)

Definition of Hunt (Entry 5 of 5)

(William) Hol*man \ ˈhōl-​mən \ 1827–1910 English painter

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Synonyms for hunt

Synonyms: Verb

chase, stalk

Synonyms: Noun

quest, search

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Examples of hunt in a Sentence


The wolf was hunting its prey. These birds have been hunted almost to extinction. a gun used for hunting squirrels He likes to hunt and fish. She hunted around in the closet for a pair of shoes. Police hunted the escaped prisoners through several states.


They went on a hunt. We finally found a good restaurant after a long hunt.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

During the summer, the elusive wild cats are more scattered, hunting their prime prey, the llama-like guanacos, across the countryside. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Places to Visit in July," 15 June 2018 That’s the idea behind PREDICT, a global surveillance program that has spent almost 10 years hunting for new viruses that could spill over from vulnerable wildlife to humans. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "A Never-Before-Seen Virus Has Been Detected in Myanmar’s Bats," 11 July 2018 To hunt for meteorites, scientists had to venture to the bottom of the seafloor. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists May Have Found Meteorite Fragments in the Ocean," 8 July 2018 Humans have always been the biggest threat to whales, hunted for their oil, captured for aquariums, even shot for target practice. Anchorage Daily News, "Whale strandings off Washington-Oregon coast highest in nearly 2 decades," 3 July 2018 Humans have always been the biggest threat to whales, hunted for their oil, captured for aquariums, even shot for target practice. Lynda V. Mapes, The Seattle Times, "Whale strandings off Washington-Oregon coast highest in nearly 2 decades," 2 July 2018 These hunt opportunities — for deer, waterfowl, feral hogs and other game — are held on TPWD properties and include hunts for waterfowl, deer and other game. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Lottery-like public program offers expanded Texas hunting opportunities," 30 June 2018 Investigators do not suspect neglect, explaining that the recent high temperatures are causing snakes to hunt for shelter in more populated areas. Danielle Garrand, CBS News, "Rattlesnake hiding among child's toys bites toddler in Texas," 26 June 2018 So practice on a big target like the moon, before hunting for planets. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Summer is for meteor showers and stargazing. Here’s how to watch.," 22 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

At times, these lionfish hunts culminate in a chef-prepared luncheon. Mark Rogers, USA TODAY, "Lionfish in the Caribbean: Destructive menace, delicious dinner," 3 July 2018 The wardens were contacted by a landowner regarding his ranch manager selling hunts under the table and hunting without consent. Houston Chronicle, "Game warden field notes," 1 July 2018 When The Expanse began, a significant portion of its running time was dedicated to a detective’s hunt for a missing girl. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "The Expanse is an excellent sci-fi space opera. But it’s fundamentally a detective show.," 1 July 2018 Their extraordinary night vision helps them hunt and protect the pride at night, and their keen sense of smell helps them to identify their own kin and territory. Amy Raudenbush,, "Hey, kids: Draw this lion for a chance to see your artwork published," 29 June 2018 Activities include games for all ages, a bonfire, arts and crafts, a flashlight candy hunt and a continental breakfast. Geoff Bruce, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "From Lake Country to the North Shore, here are 26 fun ways to spend the middle of your summer," 26 June 2018 Things to do: Seasonal events at Princess Del Cerro Park include a winter wonderland, egg hunt and pumpkin patch., "Del Cerro and San Carlos: A hilly residential community close to San Diego State University," 22 June 2018 Along for Ellsworth’s hunt and his journey to the Noxen Rattlesnake Roundup in Wyoming County, this reporter didn’t see one snake try to strike out. Jason Nark,, "Venomous passion: Pennsylvania's snake hunters head to the hills," 20 June 2018 The Latvian native was referring to the two biggest hurdles to conjuring up Bitcoins—uncertainty over how governments will treat the craze and the constant hunt for cheap electricity, the main expense in solving the calculations that produce tokens. Ilya Khrennikov,, "Million-Dollar Box Conjures Up a Fortune for Bitcoin Visionary," 19 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hunt.' 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 hunt


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hunt


Middle English, from Old English huntian; akin to Old English hentan to seize

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Statistics for hunt

Last Updated

7 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hunt

The first known use of hunt was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for hunt



English Language Learners Definition of hunt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to chase and kill (wild animals) for food or pleasure

: to search for something or someone very carefully and thoroughly



English Language Learners Definition of hunt (Entry 2 of 2)

: an occasion when people hunt wild animals

: an act of searching for something or someone

: a group of people who hunt foxes together


\ˈhənt \
hunted; hunting

Kids Definition of hunt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to chase after in order to capture or kill hunt deer

2 : to try to find I hunted for my key.

Other Words from hunt

hunting noun



Kids Definition of hunt (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an instance or the practice of chasing to capture or kill

2 : an act of searching

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Comments on hunt

What made you want to look up hunt? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

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