per·​se·​cu·​tion | \ ˌpər-si-ˈkyü-shən How to pronounce persecution (audio) \

Definition of persecution

1 : the act or practice of persecuting especially those who differ in origin, religion, or social outlook
2 : the condition of being persecuted, harassed, or annoyed

Examples of persecution in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The early settler colonialists were Puritans and fled England because of religious persecution, which is why they were known as Separatists. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "The Origins of Halloween Are Darker Than You Imagined," 24 June 2020 China’s blueprint for national security in Hong Kong puts pro-democracy activists, including pastors and religious leaders, at risk of being extradited to and tried in mainland China, a Christian persecution watchdog warns. Fox News, "Hong Kong pastors face arrest, extradition to China with new security laws: watchdog," 23 June 2020 But as the movement toward normalization gains steam across the United States, legislators and activists are adding a moral provision to the burgeoning marijuana industry: to rectify decades of racial persecution caused by the War on Drugs. Tiney Ricciardi, The Denver Post, "What is social equity in Colorado’s cannabis industry? Regulators look to level the playing field for marginalized communities," 30 Jan. 2020 The Zoroastrians, whose doctrines influenced the principles of Judaism and Christianity, fled from Persia -- modern-day Iran -- to India in the 7th century to avoid political and religious persecution. Rhea Mogul, CNN, "One of India's richest minority groups enjoys some of Mumbai's best rents. Here's why," 4 July 2020 Hillel Neuer, executive director of U.N. Watch, noted that the council’s sessions produced no resolution on China, despite the persecution of Muslims and the silencing of coronavirus whistleblowers. Fox News, "Pompeo says UN Human Rights Council hits ‘new low’ with anti-US resolution on race, police," 20 June 2020 Trump and some of his fellow Republicans have long maintained that Stone was treated unfairly and was the victim of political persecution. Andrew Mark Miller, Washington Examiner, "Turley: Toobin and Romney 'wrong' to call Roger Stone commutation historic," 11 July 2020 Advocates for migrants have argued the policies place vulnerable refugees, including families and children, in harm's way and ignore America's image as a leading safe harbor for those fleeing persecution. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, "Proposed rule would allow officers to deny asylum, humanitarian refuge on public health grounds," 8 July 2020 The family feared persecution in Haiti, but they haven’t been granted a credible fear interview, normally the first step in the asylum process, Cartagena said. Silvia Foster-frau,, "Haitian family detained 3 weeks in San Antonio hotel," 1 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'persecution.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of persecution

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for persecution

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The first known use of persecution was in the 14th century

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Statistics for persecution

Last Updated

9 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Persecution.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for persecution


per·​se·​cu·​tion | \ ˌpər-si-ˈkyü-shən How to pronounce persecution (audio) \

Kids Definition of persecution

1 : the act of continually treating in a cruel and harmful way
2 : the state of being continually treated in a cruel and harmful way



Legal Definition of persecution

: punishment or harassment usually of a severe nature on the basis of race, religion, or political opinion in one's country of origin claimed persecution and sought asylum

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