\ ˈhənt How to pronounce hunt (audio) \
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 How to pronounce Hunt (audio) \

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 How to pronounce ˈhōl-mən (audio)\ 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

But instead of hunting her down, 56-year-old Dwight Lamon Jones fatally shot six people in a Scottsdale-area killing spree that spanned from May 31 to June 4. Bree Burkitt, azcentral, "Dateline interview with ex-wife of Scottsdale-area shooter to air Friday," 27 June 2018 France’s Barkhane mission involves 4,000 troops hunting down militants in Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad and Niger. Olivier Monnier,, "Jihadists Gain Strength Even as Troops Arrive in West Africa," 24 Apr. 2018 Corvettes such as the Jingdao-class Type 056, for example, are small, lightly armed ships useful only for showing the flag and hunting submarines off China’s coastline and in nearby seas. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "China Now Has More Warships Than the U.S.," 20 May 2019 First, Jon and Daenerys spent the first part of the battle hunting the Night King with Rhaegal and Drogon in what was essentially a glorified Quidditch match. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Game of Thrones: People Are Dragging Jon Snow for Being, Well, an Idiot," 29 Apr. 2019 The Silence, Netflix, April 10 Netflix's answer to A Quiet Place is a new horror thriller set in a world in which evil creatures hunt their prey via sound. Vogue, "9 Things to Watch in April on Netflix, HBO and More," 29 Mar. 2019 This finding should be of interest to NASA, which is developing a lander mission that will hunt for signs of life on the 1,900-mile-wide (3,100 kilometers) satellite. Mike Wall,, "Jupiter Moon Europa's Jagged Ice Towers Could Imperil Robot Landers," 8 Oct. 2018 Tester’s campaign, responding to an inquiry from Fox News, denied that the candidate has portrayed himself as someone who frequently hunts. Alex Pappas, Fox News, "Dem Sen. Tester campaigns on love of hunting, hasn't had license in 6 years," 18 Sep. 2018 In 1998, Ohioans were asked to weigh in on whether mourning doves should be categorized as game birds and hunted. Jessie Balmert,, "Dialysis to duels: Why Ohio keeps voting on odd, complicated ballot issues," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Minnesota came in mired in a 3-6-1 slide, but fueled by a playoff hunt, opened the game with a 3-0 lead on goals by Greg Pateryn, Staal and Kevin Fiala. W.g. Ramirez, The Seattle Times, "Wild defeat Golden Knights 3-2, stay in playoff hunt," 29 Mar. 2019 For the past several decades, however, nuclear physicists have led the hunt for new elements—creating them artificially by smashing atomic nuclei into targets (see ‘How to create an element’). Edwin Cartlidge, Scientific American, "The Battle Behind the Periodic Table’s Latest Additions," 13 June 2018 New chairman Jeff Immelt will take on a more operational role, while the board begins the hunt for a new CEO. Jon Chesto,, "Athenahealth shakeup underscores hedge funds’ power," 6 June 2018 But the employee doesn't go hunt for the product; instead, a small orange robot on wheels brings it to an employee station, where it's plucked, scanned and sent up a series of conveyor belts to another floor for packaging. Allison Kite, kansascity, "Robotics-heavy Amazon fulfillment center creates 2,000 jobs for humans in KCK | The Kansas City Star," 30 Apr. 2018 That first rape sparked the hunt for the man who authorities say went on to assault and kill more people in California over the next decade. Faith Karimi, CNN, "Suspect in Golden State Killer case was a recluse, neighbors say," 26 Apr. 2018 The annual whale hunt in the region has led to occasionally violent clashes with antiwhaling activists. Alastair Gale, WSJ, "Japan to Resume Commercial Whale Hunting," 25 Dec. 2018 No, this particular injury could only have been made by a human tool during a hunt, scientists say. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "Ancient deer skeleton may reveal how Neanderthals hunted prey," 25 June 2018 Dopeness: 8/10, scary as hell, hunts in the dark, I was convinced for weeks that there was one in my closet. Emma Stefansky, GQ, "The Definitive Jurassic Park Dinosaur Power Rankings," 21 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

6 Jun 2019

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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
chiefly British : a group of people who hunt foxes together


\ ˈhənt How to pronounce hunt (audio) \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on hunt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hunt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hunt

Spanish Central: Translation of hunt

Nglish: Translation of hunt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hunt for Arabic Speakers

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