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come back to haunt (one)
1. To pursue someone or something in a ghostly or otherwise supernatural form. If you don't do exactly what I want at my funeral, I'll come back to haunt you all!
2. For a past situation, decision, etc. to cause problems for one in the present or future. His poor treatment of his employees might come back to haunt him some day. Her remarks during the campaign have come back to haunt her during the debate.
3. To return to one's consciousness, as of a thought or memory. I've barely slept because that nightmare has come back to haunt me every night this week. The fear that I'll get fired comes back to haunt me all the time.
1. A house that is said to be visited by and/or home to ghosts or spirits. We're going to have a séance at the haunted house down the street, to see if we can talk to the spirits.
2. A house decorated to be spooky that serves as an attraction, usually around Halloween. I think the kids are too young to go to a haunted house, honey—I don't want them to have nightmares. Every year at Halloween, my family turns the garage into a haunted house by playing spooky music and hanging cobwebs everywhere.
return to haunt (one)
1. To pursue one in a ghostly or otherwise supernatural form. If you don't do exactly what I want at my funeral, I'll return to haunt you all! The ghost of the business partner he betrayed had returned to haunt him in the night.
2. For a past situation, decision, etc. to cause problems for one in the present or future. With the organized strike shutting down his production line entirely, the CEO's poor treatment of his employees has returned to haunt him. Her remarks during the campaign returned to haunt her in the first debate with he opponent.
3. To come back continually to one's consciousness, as of a thought or memory. The same nightmare returns to haunt me every time I fall asleep. The awful terms on which I ended my friendship with Helen keep returning to haunt me.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
come back to haunt oneand return to haunt one
Fig. [for a bad memory] to recur; for the consequences of a bad decision to affect one negatively later. I never dreamed that a little thing like a traffic ticket could come back to haunt me years later.
return to haunt
one Go to come back to haunt one.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.