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persecute

play
verb per·se·cute \ˈpər-si-ˌkyüt\

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

per·se·cut·edper·se·cut·ing

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to harass or punish in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflict; specifically :  to cause to suffer because of belief

  3. 2 :  to annoy with persistent or urgent approaches (as attacks, pleas, or importunities) :  pester

per·se·cu·tee play \ˌpər-si-ˌkyü-ˈtē\ noun
per·se·cu·tive play \ˈpər-si-ˌkyü-tiv\ adjective
per·se·cu·tor play \-ˌkyü-tər\ noun
per·se·cu·to·ry play \-kyü-ˌtȯr-ē, -ˌkyü-tə-rē\ adjective

Examples of persecute

  1. The country's leaders relentlessly persecuted those who fought against the regime.

  2. 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

wrong, oppress, persecute, aggrieve mean to injure unjustly or outrageously. wrong implies inflicting injury either unmerited or out of proportion to what one deserves <a penal system that had wronged him>. oppress suggests inhumane imposing of burdens one cannot endure or exacting more than one can perform <a people oppressed by a warmongering tyrant>. persecute implies a relentless and unremitting subjection to annoyance or suffering <a child persecuted by constant criticism>. aggrieve implies suffering caused by an infringement or denial of rights <a legal aid society representing aggrieved minority groups>.


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