prosecute

verb pros·e·cute \ ˈprä-si-ˌkyüt \
|Updated on: 9 Jun 2018

Definition of prosecute

prosecuted; prosecuting
1 : to follow to the end : pursue until finished
  • prosecute a war
2 : to engage in : perform
3 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
: to institute and carry on a legal suit or prosecution

prosecutable

play \ˌprä-sə-ˈkyü-tə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of prosecute in a Sentence

  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.

Recent Examples of prosecute from the Web

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.

prosecute vs. persecute

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.

Origin and Etymology of prosecute

Middle English, from Latin prosecutus, past participle of prosequi to pursue — more at pursue


PROSECUTE Defined for English Language Learners

prosecute

Definition of prosecute for English Language Learners

  • 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)


PROSECUTE Defined for Kids

prosecute

verb pros·e·cute \ ˈprä-si-ˌkyüt \

Definition of prosecute for Students

prosecuted; prosecuting
1 : to carry on a legal action against an accused person to prove his or her guilt
2 : to follow up to the end : keep at
  • prosecute a war

Law Dictionary

prosecute

verb pros·e·cute \ ˈprä-si-ˌkyüt \

legal Definition of prosecute

prosecuted; prosecuting
1 : to institute and carry forward legal action against for redress or especially punishment of a crime
2 : to institute and carry on a lawsuit with reference to
  • an action must be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest
  • Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 17(a)
: to institute and carry on a civil or criminal action
  • decided not to prosecute

prosecutable

play \ˌprä-si-ˈkyü-tə-bəl\ adjective

Origin and Etymology of prosecute

Latin prosecutus, past participle of prosequi to pursue



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