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.
- to visit (a person or place) in the form of a ghost
- (tr) 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 plural) a place visited frequentlyan old haunt of hers
- a place to which animals habitually resort for food, drink, shelter, etc
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.