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[hawnt, hahnt; for 10 also hant] /hɔnt, hɑnt; for 10 also hænt/
verb (used with object)
to visit habitually or appear to frequently as a spirit or ghost:
to haunt a house; to haunt a person.
to recur persistently to the consciousness of; remain with:
Memories of love haunted him.
to visit frequently; go to often:
He haunted the galleries and bars that the artists went to.
to frequent the company of; be often with:
He haunted famous men, hoping to gain celebrity for himself.
to disturb or distress; cause to have anxiety; trouble; worry:
His youthful escapades came back to haunt him.
verb (used without object)
to reappear continually as a spirit or ghost.
to visit habitually or regularly.
to remain persistently; loiter; stay; linger.
Often, haunts. a place frequently visited:
to return to one's old haunts.
Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S. and North England. a ghost.
Origin of haunt
1200-50; Middle English haunten < Old French hanter to frequent, probably < Old Norse heimta to lead home, derivative of heim homewards; see home
Related forms
haunter, noun
3. frequent. 5. obsess, beset, vex, plague. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for haunter
Historical Examples
  • The same rules which guide the haunter of the stalls are suitable to those who purchase from the regular booksellers.

    Book Collecting John Herbert Slater
  • Our little bird may, indeed, be called a "haunter of the sky."

    Our Bird Comrades Leander S. (Leander Sylvester) Keyser
  • He is not a climber and a haunter of the woods, like his congener.

    The Desert World Arthur Mangin
  • My communings are not with any haunter of the river, but with the living soul of the river itself.

    A Rambler's lease Bradford Torrey
  • In spite of the general visibility, some of the most horrible tales turn on the fact that the haunter is unseen.

  • I saw again in memory the silver twilight of the moon, and the crazy face of Love's Warrior, haunter of shade.

    Henry Brocken Walter J. de la Mare
  • It was an alluring type, this haunter of the midnight bower, and melancholy sweet breather in the classic reed.

    Doom Castle Neil Munro
  • Leroy Mortimer had given up shooting and established himself as a haunter of cushions in sunny corners.

    The Fighting Chance Robert W. Chambers
  • How could you—you—after such a life as yours, become a haunter of low company?

  • Another thing that the haunter of the woods may notice is that his smelling capacity is increased before a storm.

    Reading the Weather Thomas Morris Longstreth
British Dictionary definitions for haunter


to visit (a person or place) in the form of a ghost
(transitive) to intrude upon or recur to (the memory, thoughts, etc): he was haunted by the fear of insanity
to visit (a place) frequently
to associate with (someone) frequently
(often pl) a place visited frequently: an old haunt of hers
a place to which animals habitually resort for food, drink, shelter, etc
Derived Forms
haunter, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French hanter, of Germanic origin; compare Old Norse heimta to bring home, Old English hāmettan to give a home to; see home
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for haunter



early 13c., "to practice habitually, busy oneself with, take part in," from Old French hanter "to frequent, resort to, be familiar with" (12c.), probably from Old Norse heimta "bring home," from Proto-Germanic *haimat-janan, from *haimaz- (see home). Meaning "to frequent (a place)" is c.1300 in English. Use in reference to a spirit returning to the house where it had lived perhaps was in Proto-Germanic, but it was reinforced by Shakespeare's plays, and it is first recorded 1590 in "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Related: Haunted; haunting. Middle English hauntingly meant "frequently;" sense of "so as to haunt one's thoughts or memory" is from 1859.


"place frequently visited," c.1300, also in Middle English, "habit, custom" (early 14c.), from haunt (v.). The meaning "spirit that haunts a place, ghost" is first recorded 1843, originally in stereotypical U.S. black speech.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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