pros·​e·​cu·​tion | \ ˌprä-si-ˈkyü-shən How to pronounce prosecution (audio) \

Definition of prosecution

1 : the act or process of prosecuting specifically : the institution and continuance of a criminal suit involving the process of pursuing formal charges against an offender to final judgment
2 : the party by whom criminal proceedings are instituted or conducted
3 obsolete : pursuit

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Examples of prosecution in a Sentence

There has been an increase in prosecutions for gun-related crimes. The defendant is awaiting prosecution. The prosecution called their first witness. The prosecution rests, Your Honor. The defense told the jury that the prosecution had not proved its case.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The company has also agreed to cooperate in the federal investigation and prosecution of individuals in connection with the emissions cheating. Maria Armental, WSJ, "Volkswagen Supplier to Plead Guilty to Conspiracy, Pay $35 Million Fine in Emissions-Cheating Probe," 18 Dec. 2018 The other businessman, Jona Rechnitz, was a star witness for the prosecution and was indicted on multiple federal corruption counts. Zolan Kanno-youngs, WSJ, "Jury Begins Deliberations in NYPD Corruption Trial," 26 Dec. 2018 Adults are referred to the Justice Department for prosecution. Colleen Long And Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar,, "Trump administration's zero-tolerance immigration policy sowed confusion from start," 1 July 2018 In response, the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Monday that the Border Patrol had stopped referring parents for prosecution until those questions can be resolved, formalizing a retreat evident for several days. Sig Christenson, San Antonio Express-News, "Goodfellow AFB, Fort Bliss to hold migrant children," 25 June 2018 That suspect was detained out of state and taken to Washington for prosecution. Maggie Wilson, ajc, "Police make arrest in 1986 child murder," 22 June 2018 If Flynn really was attempting to help ISIS, as opposed to Turkey, a prosecution would indeed seem plausible. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Michael Flynn’s judge suggested he might be guilty of treason. He’s not.," 18 Dec. 2018 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has asked a federal court to unseal documents related to the federal government's pending prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Report: Charges against Assange relate to Russian hacking," 17 Nov. 2018 The police statement indicates reporting a false crime is a misdemeanor in Minnesota, but a criminal defense law expert told KARE that prosecution can be difficult. Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "Viral Video Shows Black Boys Detained at a Park in Minnesota After 911 Caller Claimed They Had Weapons," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prosecution.' 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 prosecution

1545, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

19 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for prosecution

The first known use of prosecution was in 1545

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English Language Learners Definition of prosecution

: the act or process of holding a trial against a person who is accused of a crime to see if that person is guilty
: the side of a legal case which argues that a person who is accused of a crime is guilty : the lawyer or lawyers who prosecute someone in a court case
formal : the act of doing or continuing to do something


pros·​e·​cu·​tion | \ ˌprä-si-ˈkyü-shən How to pronounce prosecution (audio) \

Kids Definition of prosecution

1 : the act of carrying on a legal action against a person accused of a crime in court
2 : the lawyers in a criminal case trying to prove that the accused person is guilty The prosecution will try to prove it was murder.


pros·​e·​cu·​tion | \ ˌprä-si-ˈkyü-shən How to pronounce prosecution (audio) \

Legal Definition of prosecution

1 : the act or process of prosecuting especially : the institution and carrying on of a criminal action involving the process of seeking formal charges against a person and pursuing those charges to final judgment
2 : the party by whom criminal proceedings are instituted or conducted — compare defense sense 3, plaintiff

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Comments on prosecution

What made you want to look up prosecution? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to corrupt or become corrupted

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