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verb pur·sue \pər-ˈsü, -ˈsyü\

Simple Definition of pursue

  • : to follow and try to catch or capture (someone or something) for usually a long distance or time

  • : to try to get or do (something) over a period of time

  • : to be involved in (an activity)

Full Definition of pursue


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to follow in order to overtake, capture, kill, or defeat

  3. 2 :  to find or employ measures to obtain or accomplish :  seek <pursue a goal>

  4. 3 :  to proceed along <pursues a northern course>

  5. 4 a :  to engage in <pursue a hobby> b :  to follow up or proceed with <pursue an argument>

  6. 5 :  to continue to afflict :  haunt <was pursued by horrible memories>

  7. 6 :  2chase 1c <pursued by dozens of fans>

  8. intransitive verb
  9. :  to go in pursuit

pur·su·er noun

Examples of pursue

  1. It is this peace among the Great Powers—at least for the near term—that makes it truly possible both to pursue my vision of the post-Cold War world and, at the same time, to hedge against failure by maintaining the capacity to protect ourselves and our interests … —Robert S. McNamara, In Retrospect, 1995

  2. The monster truck pursued him at insane speeds, through phone booths and gas pumps and even over cliffs, but he never knew why. —Hunter S. Thompson, Rolling Stone, 14-28 July 1994

  3. In a world of nation-states the assumption that governments will pursue their own interests gives order and predictability to international affairs. —Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., American Heritage, 3 May/June 1994

  4. Hounds pursued the fox for miles.

  5. The criminal is being pursued by police.

  6. He chose to pursue a college degree.

  7. She wants to pursue a legal career.

Origin of pursue

Middle English, from Anglo-French pursure, pursiure, from Latin prosequi, from pro- forward + sequi to follow — more at pro-, sue

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of pursue

chase, pursue, follow, trail mean to go after or on the track of something or someone. chase implies going swiftly after and trying to overtake something fleeing or running <a dog chasing a cat>. pursue suggests a continuing effort to overtake, reach, or attain <pursued the criminal through narrow streets>. follow puts less emphasis upon speed or intent to overtake <friends followed me home in their car>. trail may stress a following of tracks or traces rather than a visible object <trail deer> <trailed a suspect across the country>.

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February 9, 2016

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