verb per·se·cute \ˈpər-si-ˌkyüt\

: 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

transitive verb
:  to harass or punish in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflict; specifically :  to cause to suffer because of belief
:  to annoy with persistent or urgent approaches (as attacks, pleas, or importunities) :  pester
per·se·cu·tee \ˌpər-si-ˌkyü-ˈtē\ noun
per·se·cu·tive \ˈpər-si-ˌkyü-tiv\ adjective
per·se·cu·tor \-ˌkyü-tər\ noun
per·se·cu·to·ry \-kyü-ˌtr-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.


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>.
PERSECUTIVE Defined for Kids


verb per·se·cute \ˈpər-si-ˌkyüt\

Definition of PERSECUTE for Kids

:  to treat continually in a cruel and harmful way


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