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haunting

[hawn-ting, hahn-] /ˈhɔn tɪŋ, ˈhɑn-/
adjective
1.
remaining in the consciousness; not quickly forgotten:
haunting music; haunting memories.
noun
2.
the act of a person or thing that haunts; visitation.
Origin
1275-1325
1275-1325; Middle English; see haunt, -ing2, -ing1
Related forms
hauntingly, adverb

haunt

[hawnt, hahnt; for 10 also hant] /hɔnt, hɑnt; for 10 also hænt/
verb (used with object)
1.
to visit habitually or appear to frequently as a spirit or ghost:
to haunt a house; to haunt a person.
2.
to recur persistently to the consciousness of; remain with:
Memories of love haunted him.
3.
to visit frequently; go to often:
He haunted the galleries and bars that the artists went to.
4.
to frequent the company of; be often with:
He haunted famous men, hoping to gain celebrity for himself.
5.
to disturb or distress; cause to have anxiety; trouble; worry:
His youthful escapades came back to haunt him.
verb (used without object)
6.
to reappear continually as a spirit or ghost.
7.
to visit habitually or regularly.
8.
to remain persistently; loiter; stay; linger.
noun
9.
Often, haunts. a place frequently visited:
to return to one's old haunts.
10.
Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S. and North England. a ghost.
Origin
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
Synonyms
3. frequent. 5. obsess, beset, vex, plague.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for haunting
  • Honey used in baking adds moisture and a haunting yet robust taste.
  • But it's certainly true that the tools of space exploration often have a haunting, sterile, almost creepy quality.
  • The bird became synonymous with extinction, a haunting reminder of what a culture may lose when it squanders its natural wealth.
  • As captured on lustrous nitrate stock, the images have a haunting beauty as well.
  • The job market is a kind of academic purgatory replete with haunting uncertainties.
  • There is a haunting prehistoric ritual still conditioned into every human being's reflexes.
  • So the poignancy expresses a haunting yearning for what would otherwise be unrecoverable.
  • He abounds in arresting phrases, in haunting verbal felicities.
  • Again and again he referred to the incident, with a haunting remorse.
  • If his ghost is haunting the ballrooms of our time, it is certain the number is still further reduced.
British Dictionary definitions for haunting

haunting

/ˈhɔːntɪŋ/
adjective
1.
(of memories) poignant or persistent
2.
poignantly sentimental; enchantingly or eerily evocative
Derived Forms
hauntingly, adverb

haunt

/hɔːnt/
verb
1.
to visit (a person or place) in the form of a ghost
2.
(transitive) to intrude upon or recur to (the memory, thoughts, etc): he was haunted by the fear of insanity
3.
to visit (a place) frequently
4.
to associate with (someone) frequently
noun
5.
(often pl) a place visited frequently: an old haunt of hers
6.
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 haunting

haunt

v.

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.

n.

"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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