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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English haunten (to reside, inhabit, use, employ), from Old French hanter (to inhabit, frequent, resort to), from Old Northern French hanter (to go back home, frequent), from Old Norse heimta (to bring home, fetch) or/and from Old English hāmettan (to bring home; house; cohabit with); both from Proto-Germanic *haimatjaną (to house, bring home), from Proto-Germanic *haimaz (village, home), from Proto-Indo-European *kōym- (village).

Cognate with Old English hāmettan (to provide housing to, bring home); related to Old English hām (home, village), Old French hantin (a stay, a place frequented by) from the same Germanic source. Another descendant from the French is Dutch hanteren, whence German hantieren, Swedish hantera, Danish håndtere. More at home.



haunt (third-person singular simple present haunts, present participle haunting, simple past and past participle haunted)

  1. (transitive) To inhabit, or visit frequently (most often used in reference to ghosts).
    A couple of ghosts haunt the old, burnt-down house.
  2. (transitive) To make uneasy, restless.
    The memory of his past failures haunted him.
  3. (transitive) To stalk, to follow
    The policeman haunted him, following him everywhere.
  4. (intransitive, now rare) To live habitually; to stay, to remain.
  5. (transitive, Britain dialectal, Northern England, Scotland) To accustom; habituate; make accustomed to.
  6. (transitive, Britain dialectal, Northern England, Scotland) To practise; to devote oneself to.
    • 1570, Roger Ascham, The School master
      Leave honest pleasure, and haunt no good pastime.
  7. (intransitive) To persist in staying or visiting.



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


haunt (plural haunts)

  1. A place at which one is regularly found; a habitation or hangout.
    The shopping mall is a popular haunt of the local teenagers in this town.
    I went back the town I used to live and visited all my old haunts.
    • 1819, Washington Irving, The Sketch Book, Rip Van Winkle:
      It is a great rock or cliff on the loneliest part of the mountains, and, … is known by the name of the Garden Rock. Near the foot of it is a small lake, the haunt of the solitary bittern, with water-snakes basking in the sun on the leaves of the pond-lilies which lie on the surface.
    • 1868, Louisa May Alcott, "Kitty's Class Day":
      Both Jack and Fletcher had graduated the year before, but still took an interest in their old haunts, and patronized the fellows who were not yet through.
    • 1984, Timothy Loughran and Natalie Angier, "Science: Striking It Rich in Wyoming," Time, 8 Oct.:
      Wyoming has been a favorite haunt of paleontologists for the past century ever since westering pioneers reported that many vertebrate fossils were almost lying on the ground.
    • 2018, Michael Coogan, Marc Brettler, Carol Newsom, The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha:
      It shall be the haunt of jackals, an abode for ostriches.
  2. (dialect) A ghost.
    • 1891, Mary Noailles Murfree, In the "Stranger People's" Country, Nebraska 2005, page 93:
      Harnts don't wander much ginerally,’ he said. ‘They hand round thar own buryin'-groun' mainly.’
  3. A feeding place for animals.[2]



  1. 1.0 1.1 Dictionary.com
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, second edition (1989)