verb pros·e·cute \ˈprä-si-ˌkyüt\

law : to hold a trial against a person who is accused of a crime to see if that person is guilty

: to work as a lawyer to try to prove a case against someone accused of a crime

: to continue to do (something) : to proceed with (something)


Full Definition of PROSECUTE

transitive verb
:  to follow to the end :  pursue until finished <prosecute a war>
:  to engage in :  perform
a :  to bring legal action against for redress or punishment of a crime or violation of law
b :  to institute legal proceedings with reference to <prosecute a claim>
intransitive verb
:  to institute and carry on a legal suit or prosecution
pros·e·cut·able \ˌprä-sə-ˈkyü-tə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of PROSECUTE

  1. The store's owner agreed not to prosecute if the boy returned the stolen goods.
  2. The case is being prosecuted by the assistant district attorney.
  3. She criticized the government for the way it has prosecuted the war.


Middle English, from Latin prosecutus, past participle of prosequi to pursue — more at pursue
First Known Use: 15th century


Next Word in the Dictionary: prosecuting attorneyPrevious Word in the Dictionary: prosectorshipAll Words Near: prosecute
March 30, 2015
amphibology Hear it
A phrase with more than one interpretation
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears