See more synonyms for hunt on
verb (used with object)
  1. to chase or search for (game or other wild animals) for the purpose of catching or killing.
  2. to pursue with force, hostility, etc., in order to capture (often followed by down): They hunted him down and hanged him.
  3. to search for; seek; endeavor to obtain or find (often followed by up or out): to hunt up the most promising candidates for the position.
  4. to search (a place) thoroughly.
  5. to scour (an area) in pursuit of game.
  6. to use or direct (a horse, hound, etc.) in chasing game.
  7. Change Ringing. to alter the place of (a bell) in a hunt.
verb (used without object)
  1. to engage in the pursuit, capture, or killing of wild animals for food or in sport.
  2. to make a search or quest (often followed by for or after).
  3. Change Ringing. to alter the place of a bell in its set according to certain rules.
  1. an act or practice of hunting game or other wild animals.
  2. a search; a seeking or endeavor to find.
  3. a pursuit.
  4. a group of persons associated for the purpose of hunting; an association of hunters.
  5. an area hunted over.
  6. Change Ringing. a regularly varying order of permutations in the ringing of a group of from five to twelve bells.

Origin of hunt

before 1000; (v.) Middle English hunten, Old English huntian, derivative of hunta hunter, akin to hentan to pursue; (noun) Middle English, derivative of the v.
Related formshunt·a·ble, adjectivehunt·ed·ly, adverbout·hunt, verb (used with object)o·ver·hunt, verb (used with object)un·hunt·a·ble, adjectiveun·hunt·ed, adjective

Synonyms for hunt

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for hunt down

hunt down

verb (adverb)
  1. (tr) to pursue successfully by diligent searching and chasingthey finally hunted down the killer in Mexico
  2. (intr) (of a bell) to be rung progressively later during a set of changes


  1. to seek out and kill or capture (game or wild animals) for food or sport
  2. (intr often foll by for) to look (for); search (for)to hunt for a book; to hunt up a friend
  3. (tr) to use (hounds, horses, etc) in the pursuit of wild animals, game, etcto hunt a pack of hounds
  4. (tr) to search or draw (country) to hunt wild animals, game, etcto hunt the parkland
  5. (tr often foll by down) to track or chase diligently, esp so as to captureto hunt down a criminal
  6. (tr; usually passive) to persecute; hound
  7. (intr) (of a gauge indicator, engine speed, etc) to oscillate about a mean value or position
  8. (intr) (of an aircraft, rocket, etc) to oscillate about a flight path
  1. the act or an instance of hunting
  2. chase or search, esp of animals or game
  3. the area of a hunt
  4. a party or institution organized for the pursuit of wild animals or game, esp for sport
  5. the participants in or members of such a party or institution
  6. in the hunt informal having a chance of successthat result keeps us in the hunt See also hunt down, hunt up
Derived Formshuntedly, adverb

Word Origin for hunt

Old English huntian; related to Old English hentan, Old Norse henda to grasp


  1. Henry, known as Orator Hunt . 1773–1835, British radical, who led the mass meeting that ended in the Peterloo Massacre (1819)
  2. (William) Holman. 1827–1910, British painter; a founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (1848)
  3. James. 1947–93, British motor-racing driver: world champion 1976
  4. (Henry Cecil) John, Baron. 1910–98, British army officer and mountaineer. He planned and led the expedition that first climbed Mount Everest (1953)
  5. (James Henry) Leigh (liː). 1784–1859, British poet and essayist: a founder of The Examiner (1808) in which he promoted the work of Keats and Shelley
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 hunt down



Old English huntian "chase game," related to hentan "to seize," from Proto-Germanic *huntojan (cf. Gothic hinþan "to seize, capture," Old High German hunda "booty"), from PIE *kend-.

General sense of "search diligently" (for anything) is first recorded c.1200. Related: Hunted; hunting. Happy hunting-grounds "Native American afterlife paradise" is from "Last of the Mohicans" (1826).



early 12c., from hunt (v.). Meaning "body of persons associated for the purpose of hunting with a pack of hounds" is first recorded 1570s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with hunt down


see happy hunting ground; high and low, (hunt); run with (the hare, hunt with the hounds).

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.