early 13c., from O.Fr. hanter
"to frequent, resort to, be familiar with" (12c.), probably from O.N. heimta
"bring home," from P.Gmc. *khaimat-janan
, from *khaimaz-
). Use in ref. to a spirit returning to the house where it had lived perhaps was in P.Gmc., but it was reinforced by Shakespeare's plays, and it is first recorded 1590 in "A Midsummer Night's Dream." The noun meaning "spirit that haunts a place, ghost" is first recorded 1843, originally in stereotypical U.S. black speech. Haunts
(n.) "place or places one frequents" is early 14c., from the verb.