The Google definitions are almost the same:


search determinedly for someone or something.

hunt down

to try to find a particular thing or person.

Example sentence:

Pool parties were the perfect place for her: she could show off her body, liquor up, and hunt (down) men.

  • 1
    In the sample sentence, "hunt down" is just a stronger image than "hunt." – user32753 Jan 6 '17 at 4:05

In general, "hunting" implies a high chance of failing to find, catch, or kill whatever/whomever is being hunted.

"Hunt down" implies persevering until whatever/whomever is being hunted is "caught" or "dead" (either literally or figuratively). Often, this involves techniques to "corner" the target(s). A target that has been "backed into a corner" can only escape by going toward the hunter(s).

"Hunt down" is also more likely to imply that particular targets have been identified. For example, "hunt down men" might mean that:

  • "she" has particular men in mind, or
  • upon arriving at the party, she notices particular men, and will later on "hunt them down", or
  • as men arrive at the party, she notices some of them, and will later on "hunt them down".
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  • 1
    Yes, this exactly. If she's "hunting" men it means she's "on the hunt", that she's just looking for an opportunity. But if she's "hunting down" men it implies she's determined to get one before she goes home. – Andrew Jan 6 '17 at 4:54

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