pur·​sue | \ pər-ˈsü How to pronounce pursue (audio) , -ˈsyü \
pursued; pursuing

Definition of pursue

transitive verb

1 : to follow in order to overtake, capture, kill, or defeat
2 : to find or employ measures to obtain or accomplish : seek pursue a goal
3 : to proceed along pursues a northern course
4a : to engage in pursue a hobby
b : to follow up or proceed with pursue an argument
5 : to continue to afflict : haunt was pursued by horrible memories
6 : chase entry 2 sense 1c pursued by dozens of fans

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Other Words from pursue

pursuer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for pursue



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Choose the Right Synonym for pursue

chase, pursue, follow, trail mean to go after or on the track of something or someone. chase implies going swiftly after and trying to overtake something fleeing or running. a dog chasing a cat pursue suggests a continuing effort to overtake, reach, or attain. pursued the criminal through narrow streets follow puts less emphasis upon speed or intent to overtake. friends followed me home in their car trail may stress a following of tracks or traces rather than a visible object. trail deer trailed a suspect across the country

Examples of pursue in a Sentence

It is this peace among the Great Powers—at least for the near term—that makes it truly possible both to pursue my vision of the post-Cold War world and, at the same time, to hedge against failure by maintaining the capacity to protect ourselves and our interests … — Robert S. McNamara, In Retrospect, 1995 The monster truck pursued him at insane speeds, through phone booths and gas pumps and even over cliffs, but he never knew why. — Hunter S. Thompson, Rolling Stone, 14-28 July 1994 In a world of nation-states the assumption that governments will pursue their own interests gives order and predictability to international affairs. — Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., American Heritage, 3 May/June 1994 Hounds pursued the fox for miles. The criminal is being pursued by police. He chose to pursue a college degree. She wants to pursue a legal career.
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Recent Examples on the Web The court's 5-4 decision, written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, means that Oklahoma prosecutors lack the authority to pursue criminal cases against American Indian defendants in parts of Oklahoma that include most of Tulsa, the second-largest city. Jessica Gresko, Anchorage Daily News, "Supreme Court rules a big swath of Oklahoma remains tribal reservation," 9 July 2020 Federal judges have routinely given prosecutors wide latitude to pursue cases that may only have tangential links to interstate commerce. Kaylee Remington, cleveland, "Why is Maple Heights man’s arson case related to Cleveland’s May 30 George Floyd protests a federal case?," 2 July 2020 Jones had offers from mid-major schools such as South Alabama, Evansville and Tennessee Tech before high majors MU and Florida started to pursue him in the past month. Ben Steele, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "2021 guard Kameron Jones commits to Marquette," 30 June 2020 There’s been much talk in recent weeks about whether lawmakers in D.C. will pursue further economic stimulus measures meant to help American households and businesses through the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Rey Mashayekhi, Fortune, "‘Second stimulus check calculator’ tells you what you’d receive if the HEROES Act passes," 30 June 2020 Chambers said there was a conversation last time the Tech job opened in 2018, but did not choose to pursue it further. Kyle Neddenriep, The Indianapolis Star, "Tech makes hires for football and basketball coaching openings," 25 June 2020 That has led the agency to send out fewer delinquency notices and pursue fewer nonfiler cases. Laura Davison, Bloomberg.com, "IRS Fails to Pursue Thousands of Rich Tax Cheats, Watchdog Says," 3 June 2020 Over 70 percent of America’s 10 million hunters primarily pursue deer. Andrew Mckean, Outdoor Life, "The Two Biggest Deer Organizations Are Joining Forces. What Does It Mean for Hunters?," 6 July 2020 The city is moving forward with a sports complex and continues to pursue quality of life developments as a business recruiting tool. William Thornton | Wthornton@al.com, al, "‘One surprise after another’: How one Alabama city’s economy is adapting to coronavirus," 5 July 2020

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for pursue

Middle English, from Anglo-French pursure, pursiure, from Latin prosequi, from pro- forward + sequi to follow — more at pro-, sue

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Time Traveler for pursue

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for pursue

Last Updated

23 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pursue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pursue. Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for pursue


How to pronounce pursue (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pursue

: to follow and try to catch or capture (someone or something) for usually a long distance or time
: to try to get or do (something) over a period of time
: to be involved in (an activity)


pur·​sue | \ pər-ˈsü How to pronounce pursue (audio) \
pursued; pursuing

Kids Definition of pursue

1 : to follow after in order to catch or destroy : chase A dog pursued the fleeing cat.
2 : to follow up or proceed with He won't answer, so why pursue it?
3 : to try to get or do over a period of time I've decided to pursue a degree in geography.

Other Words from pursue

pursuer noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on pursue

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pursue

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pursue

Spanish Central: Translation of pursue

Nglish: Translation of pursue for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pursue for Arabic Speakers

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