Definition of prosecute
- prosecute a war
- prosecute a claim
The store's owner agreed not to prosecute if the boy returned the stolen goods.
The case is being prosecuted by the assistant district attorney.
She criticized the government for the way it has prosecuted the war.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prosecute.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Take care to distinguish between prosecuted and persecuted, although we sincerely hope that neither word applies to you. Persecute typically has a small range of meanings, such as “to harass or punish in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflict.” Although the word is occasionally found in dialectal use to mean “prosecute,” many usage guides consider this to be an error. Prosecute is generally found today in a legal context (“to bring legal action against for redress or punishment of a crime or violation of law”), although the word may also be used to mean “to follow to the end” or “to engage in.” If someone is prosecuted they are being tried in a court of law; if they are persecuted they are being targeted and harassed.
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)
What made you want to look up prosecute? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
Confusing Words—A Quiz