Definition of haunt in US English:



[with object]
  • 1(of a ghost) manifest itself at (a place) regularly.

    ‘a gray lady who haunts the chapel’
    • ‘Seeing a while light move above the mirror and across the ceiling, she thinks it is a ghost or the dead spirit of Mr. Reed haunting the room, troubled from the grave.’
    • ‘Urban legend has it that the Paramount is haunted by the ghost of a projectionist!’
    • ‘A section of the palatial building where the family lives is believed to be haunted by a ghost.’
    • ‘It reminded me of The Blair Witch Project - a group of researchers take over a spooky old house and discover that one room appears to be haunted by the ghost of a screaming maid.’
    • ‘Malcolm will also call at a mill in Coney Lane where a ghost still haunts the building.’
    • ‘Establishing that the terrain is haunted with ghosts from the past is an effective strategy for the eventual release of the spirits.’
    • ‘This was a place of horror and hysteria, supposedly haunted by ghosts and witches.’
    • ‘The deadly force started knocking people off after the liner smashed into another vessel, apparently haunted by nasty ghosts.’
    • ‘If you've ever thought a bump in the night was the sound of your long-gone grandmother haunting the attic, then you're not alone.’
    • ‘The women believe that their salon - in a building which dates back to 1800-is haunted by the ghost of a murdered woman.’
    • ‘Even holding the week at his mansion, with the stories of his dead wife haunting the place, added to the mysterious feel of the week.’
    • ‘The landlord claims the pub, which dates back to 1706, is haunted by two ghosts.’
    • ‘In one of only two conversations in the entire film, a pensive, well dressed man warns the tourist that the theatre is haunted by ghosts, a beautiful, sad description of the dwindled audience.’
    • ‘The house is reputedly haunted by a ghost, after a woman preparing to elope with her lover fell from her horse on the road near the house.’
    • ‘Sometimes Phyconos would wonder if the spirits of the plague victims still haunt the town in which the vampires lived.’
    • ‘Philip Franks's production is set on a deserted seaside pier haunted by the ghosts of circus clowns.’
    • ‘Someone shouted that a teenage ghost haunted the place.’
    • ‘Although staff at the Crooked Billet are reluctant to expand on frightening details, they do not wholly refute the suggestion that an Irish woman haunts the cellars.’
    • ‘Last month, the little white statues began turning up everywhere, like ghosts haunting the places where the kids had been.’
    • ‘The stately home on the Richmond riverside is said to be haunted by the ghost of Lady Laurderdale, who lived there during the 1670s.’
    appear in, materialize in
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    1. 1.1 (of a person or animal) frequent (a place)
      ‘he haunts used book stores’
      • ‘I had haunted its dingy subterranean corridors myself in my youth.’
      • ‘He also haunted the dark zones of film theatres at night to watch operators at their job.’
      • ‘When the upper classes aren't at the theatre they're haunting the well-heeled suburbs of Belgrano, Recoleta and Retiro.’
      • ‘The map indicates the places most densely haunted by thieves in Shanghai in an effort to help people prevent thefts.’
      • ‘From morning to evening, people haunt the sabhas in search for the perfect voice - and the crunchiest vadai.’
      • ‘Before I knew it, I was haunting our best online auction site, TradeMe, every day.’
      • ‘But why are these individuals haunting the most liberal blogs on the net?’
      • ‘It even seems to be straying into lurid, B-movie territory as we enter an all too familiar asylum where the patients haunt the corridors, drugged or demented.’
      • ‘I shall haunt the streets until my madness is quenched.’
      • ‘It was thought all last summer that some such wild creature was haunting the locality, for plenty of half-eaten eel and partly devoured trout were found at different times up and down the banks.’
      frequent, spend time in, patronize, visit regularly, be a regular visitor to, be a regular client of, loiter in, linger in
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    2. 1.2 Be persistently in the mind of (someone)
      ‘the sight haunted me for years’
      • ‘Here Amabelle finds a sort of happiness, still haunted by her parents' death, but comforted by her bond with Sebastien.’
      • ‘And though these words may belong to the big screen, they will haunt us whenever we recall the poignant scenes from the moving film.’
      • ‘Loren is haunted by the daughter she gave up, who has since grown up to become a famous artist.’
      • ‘His gloomy presence haunted her mind once more and she shut her eyes, trying to shut the memories of him away.’
      • ‘She cowered in a dark corner crying for the rest of the night, the scary sight still haunting her nervous mind.’
      • ‘Her son Leiton is still haunted by his sister's death.’
      • ‘For the last two days, the images of all those children have haunted me.’
      • ‘One offhand comment he made haunted me for years, how art history since had been based on a misinterpretation of Cezanne.’
      • ‘The town coroner, Horace is a nervous, businesslike man who is haunted by the people who died in his medical care during the war.’
      • ‘In my younger days I was haunted by the ghosts of piglets, and the memory of those phantom piglets snuffling at my feet remains a source of trauma for me even today.’
      • ‘I wrote a short story a good few months ago and my main character haunts me, I'm kind of in love with her (very narcissistic because in a way she is me).’
      • ‘Like the struggle faced by the incarcerated trying to fully reintegrate themselves back into society the stigma of being a Pleasureland employee may haunt me for many years to come.’
      • ‘Leiton escaped injury but is haunted by his sister's death.’
      • ‘The scenes he saw then haunted him for the rest of his life.’
      • ‘Some tracks stand out so much that they will haunt you for days (Bread is a great example of it).’
      • ‘I hadn't even given my old home a thought during the last two months - I'd had too many things to worry about without my brother's death haunting my mind.’
      • ‘She hadn't gotten much sleep last night, and when she had found some, yellow eyes and tailed people haunted her dreams.’
      • ‘I just realized the other day that these people, if perhaps I am haunting them too, just might be looking me up on the net.’
      • ‘The clue to that, I think, is your two sons being about the same age as this young man - just as when I first had a baby, pictures of starving children could haunt me for days in a way they never had before.’
      • ‘I'm still learning how to write, and I don't want the mistakes I made when I was a kid haunting me later on.’
      torment, obsess, oppress, disturb, trouble, worry, plague, burden, beset, beleaguer, bedevil, besiege, torture
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    3. 1.3 Be persistently and disturbingly present in (something)
      ‘cities haunted by the shadow of cholera’
      • ‘Though there are no statistics on custodial violence, it is a spectre that continues to haunt society.’
      • ‘Were the Socialists in London responsible for the problems that later came to plague the fledgling state of Pakistan and continue to haunt it to this day?’
      • ‘This divide between race and class politics continues to haunt local and national efforts to build a progressive coalition.’
      • ‘Millwall continue to be haunted by their troubled past and face making their European debut against Ferencvaros tomorrow in front of banks of empty seats at the New Den.’
      • ‘The nightmare of Gujarat still haunts the secular psyche of this country, but we still have no definite proof about how the incident took place.’
      • ‘The Kansas program continues to be haunted by the collective legacy of Raef LaFrentz, Paul Pierce and Jacque Vaughn.’
      • ‘The ICC need to move beyond being ‘gutless wonders’ on this issue, otherwise the issue will fester and continue to haunt the game.’
      • ‘Monroe would continue to haunt his life and career.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, crises continue to haunt their precarious families, and recurring small loans further perpetuate their servitude.’
      • ‘After all, mass murder and serial killers haunt the modern psyche too.’
      • ‘St John's vision was of the coming of the kingdom of God, told in images and language that will continue to haunt future generations.’
      • ‘Ever since, the legacy of Helen has haunted Western civilisation, and especially that half of it made up of women.’
      • ‘These refugees have not given up their intent to return to their motherland nor are they at the liberty of returning to it as long as terror and violence continue to haunt the valley.’
      • ‘One issue that could continue to haunt the government is the downgrading of cannabis to a class-C drug.’
      • ‘As in so many American plays, the past haunts the present and contains a hideous secret that is known but never acknowledged.’
      • ‘Bad luck continued to haunt the event when sponsors who had promised to back it suddenly pulled out leaving the promoters battling to find replacements.’
      • ‘That created an injustice that continues to haunt the Olympic movement.’
      • ‘And Sudan is just one of the conflicts that continue to haunt Africa.’
      • ‘Although the Cold War ended more than a decade ago, its impact continues to haunt the international community to this day.’
      • ‘And trumping everything has been the Sean Taylor saga, which will continue to haunt the club through the season.’
      oppress, torment, torture, rack, plague, afflict, harrow, beset, beleaguer, trouble, bedevil, cause suffering to, prey on, weigh heavily on, lie heavy on, gnaw at, nag at
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  • A place frequented by a specified person or group of people.

    ‘I revisited my old haunts’
    ‘Greenwich Village has been home to a number of literary haunts’
    • ‘Elizabeth had strong connections with Croydon, one of her favourite haunts being the Old Palace, where she occasionally stayed.’
    • ‘A few weeks ago I had a hankering for my old haunts and I dragged Fred over to San Francisco's version of Italy for a leisurely afternoon brunch.’
    • ‘It was one of my old haunts when I was a frequent visitor to New York, working on a novel with underlife scenes on the streets of Brooklyn.’
    • ‘They've only been there 5 months, and rather than them giving us the tour of their new area, I gave them the tour, and introduced them to all my old haunts.’
    • ‘Instead, I keep going back to my old haunts, hoping to rekindle an ebbing flame.’
    • ‘They are now in their 80s and their health is getting worse, but some are still returning to Britain to visit former crewmates and to revisit old haunts.’
    • ‘Once the fish have spawned they will gradually work their way back to old haunts but if the summer stays red hot, they stick to the weirs.’
    • ‘As I visited old haunts I was once again assailed by familiar feelings of disgust.’
    • ‘Before the 19th century, Loch Lomond and its environs, the Trossachs, wasn't the tourist haunt it is today.’
    • ‘A retired Swindon police officer who moved to the other side of the world more than 50 years ago returned to Wiltshire to visit his old haunts.’
    • ‘Wild duck and water hens also frequent this area of the river and it is pleasant to watch from the bridge and note the wildlife come back to their old haunts.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, there are still signs of the pub being a favourite haunt of artists.’
    • ‘For the time being, the one-time ticket clerk is just enjoying a ramble around his old haunts.’
    • ‘The Prince visited the Royal Oak pub on a visit to the picturesque North Yorkshire market town in 1994 and it seems he was keen to revisit his old haunts on today's trip.’
    • ‘Yet he wasn't about to abandon old haunts, any more than old friends.’
    • ‘‘It's weird to go back to all my old haunts,’ he said.’
    • ‘I used my time back on campus to catch up with my old lecturers (those who still had jobs) and to walk wistfully around my old haunts.’
    • ‘This is a favourite haunt of buskers and artists, hanging out amid the theatres and restaurants in a manner reminiscent of Paris.’
    • ‘They get out of jail only to look for a place to sleep - a shelter, a park and perhaps a reconnection with the old haunts that got them in jail in the first place.’
    • ‘Lisa Selin Davis's Belly, about an ageing ex-con returning to his old haunts in Saratoga Springs, was another notable contribution.’
    hang-out, stamping ground, meeting place, territory, domain, purlieu, resort, den, retreat, favourite spot
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Middle English (in the sense ‘frequent (a place’)): from Old French hanter, of Germanic origin; distantly related to home.