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

His lawyers asked a federal judge on Wednesday to dismiss the charges on grounds of vindictive and selective prosecution. Jenna West,, "Michael Avenatti Motion Alleges Nike Approved Payments to Zion, Romeo Langford," 15 Aug. 2019 The law that Carolyn Abel's family helped pass has led to three successful murder prosecutions. Peter Van Sant, CBS News, "Is justice out of reach for an American teacher murdered in South Korea?," 10 Aug. 2019 Linda, meanwhile, who had served as the prosecution's main witness, walked away without serving any time. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "Charles Manson: The Chilling True Story of the Manson Family and the 1969 Manson Murders," 10 Aug. 2019 Hunsaker disputed that testing result, saying Bayne’s alcohol consumption ``just doesn’t line up’’ with the .33% BAC alleged by the prosecution. Pomerado News, "Jury convicts driver in fatal 4S Ranch crash," 8 Aug. 2019 Murphy delivered the prosecution’s closing argument Wednesday, questioning whether the defense had made its points outlined in opening statements July 17. Julia Sclafani, Daily Pilot, "Prosecution makes closing argument in trial of man accused in Newport Beach kidnapping and torture case," 7 Aug. 2019 The prosecution’s case writes itself: while apparently serving us, technology quietly poisoned the connections that keep us human. Jamil Zaki, Scientific American, "The Technology of Kindness," 6 Aug. 2019 Neither had much experience with federal prosecutions. Jesse Eisinger, ProPublica, "How Trump’s Political Appointees Overruled Tougher Settlements With Big Banks," 4 Aug. 2019 Deputy Attorney General Jane Young declined to comment on the federal report Wednesday evening, citing the ongoing investigation and prosecution. Laura Crimaldi,, "Truck driver was on drugs, reaching for drink at time of fatal New Hampshire crash, report says," 1 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for prosecution

Last Updated

20 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


of or relating to the heavens

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