\ 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

In an ironic twist, alt-right activists—many previously banned from Twitter for their embrace of violent white nationalism—returned to the platform long enough to help hunt down and report the offending users. Jessi Hempel, WIRED, "Immigration Fight Shows Silicon Valley Must Stop Feigning Neutrality," 8 July 2018 Who wants to cut up fruit and then hunt down a canister of protein powder and then measure it? USA TODAY, "7 new products that show how the food industry is making meals faster," 4 July 2018 Ramos carefully planned the attack, using ‘‘a tactical approach in hunting down and shooting the innocent people,’’ prosecutor Wes Adams said. Brian Witte,, "Police found Md. suspect no threat in ’13," 29 June 2018 As for you, the whites are going to hunt you down, or you will get massacred fighting back. Michael Harriot, The Root, "The Root’s Clapback Mailbag: The Longest Clapback Ever," 22 June 2018 From professional bass anglers to ice fisherwomen, there are more women than ever out there winning tournaments, hunting down huge stripers, or teaching their kids how to fly-fish. Brendan Leonard, Outside Online, "20 Things That Take Longer Than the Nose Ascent," 18 June 2018 The first informant, the gangster who spoke to authorities from jail, told authorities that Balian told him to rob the man the second informant paid him to hunt down. Alene Tchekmedyian,, "New charges against Glendale cop alleging ties to Mexican Mafia and Armenian organized crime signal possible plea deal," 12 June 2018 David Harten/Louisville Courier Journal Just before the 2018 Kentucky Derby, the New York Times swung by Louisville to hunt down the five places all visitors must try. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "New to Louisville? These are the 5 restaurants you really must try," 5 June 2018 The Harris County Sheriff’s Office is now looking for the public’s help hunting down the suspect who tried to abduct the two women on Saturday around 11 a.m. Authorities described the suspect as a clean shaven, between 19 and 25, who was 5’8 or 5’9. Jared Gilmour, star-telegram, "‘No, I want you’: She offered her bike, but the kidnapper grabbed her, Texas woman says | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 30 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Sharif had denounced the court proceedings against him as politically motivated and a judicial witch-hunt, often suggesting the hidden hand of the military was to blame. NBC News, "Pakistani court sentences ex-PM Sharif to 10 years in prison for corruption," 6 July 2018 The Frenchman is believed to be keen to leave the Parc Des Princes this summer in the hunt for more game time, and Spurs are the latest to be linked with him., "Tottenham Fans Excited Over Reported Links to Paris Saint Germain Midfielder," 3 July 2018 The family art event will include a performance by Le PeTiT Cirque — the only all-kid aerial and circus arts show — an art exhibit treasure hunt, art projects and balloon art and printmaking. Ben Brazil,, "Festival of Arts returns to Laguna Beach on Thursday," 3 July 2018 Over the weekend, Secret Service agents went on a skimmer hunt, looking in over 80 locations in 21 states. Brittany Shoot, Fortune, "Beware Credit Card Skimmers at Gas Stations This July Fourth, Secret Service Warns," 3 July 2018 In addition to the ever-present frustration of traffic, there are the desperate hunts for gas stations off the next exit, thanks to the needs and demands of your family members in the backseat. Caille Millner,, "All-American road trip — by train," 28 June 2018 Expect the New Jersey Devils to be in the hunt, along with the Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers. Kevin Allen, USA TODAY, "NHL free agents 2018: Capitals' John Carlson leads ranking of top 15 potential UFAs," 11 June 2018 Read more Complicating the hunt, Mr. Quarta said, is the technological disruption the ad business is experiencing. Nick Kostov, WSJ, "After WPP Chief’s Departure, Chairman Presses for Revamp of Ad Giant," 7 June 2018 The hunt for one of the country’s most notorious serial killers led investigators to a Hobby Lobby parking lot in a California suburb. Tj Ortenzi, Washington Post, "Hunt for Golden State Killer led detectives to Hobby Lobby for DNA sample," 2 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

12 Sep 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).


the setting in which something occurs

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