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haunting

[hawn-ting, hahn-]
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adjective
  1. remaining in the consciousness; not quickly forgotten: haunting music; haunting memories.
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noun
  1. the act of a person or thing that haunts; visitation.
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Origin of haunting

Middle English word dating back to 1275–1325; see origin at haunt, -ing2, -ing1
Related formshaunt·ing·ly, adverb

haunt

[hawnt, hahnt; for 10 also hant]
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.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to reappear continually as a spirit or ghost.
  2. to visit habitually or regularly.
  3. to remain persistently; loiter; stay; linger.
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noun
  1. Often haunts. a place frequently visited: to return to one's old haunts.
  2. Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S. and North England. a ghost.
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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 formshaunt·er, noun

Synonyms

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

memorable, nostalgic, spooky, eerie, repeated, nagging, ongoing, persistent, recurrent, obsessive

Examples from the Web for haunting

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Historical Examples


British Dictionary definitions for haunting

haunting

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

haunt

verb
  1. to visit (a person or place) in the form of a ghost
  2. (tr) 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
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noun
  1. (often plural) a place visited frequentlyan old haunt of hers
  2. a place to which animals habitually resort for food, drink, shelter, etc
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Derived Formshaunter, 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

Word Origin and History for haunting

haunt

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.

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper