Simple Definition of persecute
: to treat (someone) cruelly or unfairly especially because of race or religious or political beliefs
: to constantly annoy or bother (someone)
Full Definition of persecute
Examples of persecute
The country's leaders relentlessly persecuted those who fought against the regime.
They were persecuted for their beliefs.
Origin of persecute
Middle English, from Middle French persecuter, back-formation from persecuteur persecutor, from Late Latin persecutor, from persequi to persecute, from Latin, to pursue, from per- through + sequi to follow — more at sue
First Known Use: 15th century
Synonym Discussion of persecute
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