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 Womble argued that video of the shooting should be kept from the public while state investigators pursue their probe. Time, "N.C. Judge Refuses to Release Body Cam Footage of Deputies Killing Black Man," 29 Apr. 2021 Following the death of Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old who was shot and killed by a police officer during a foot pursuit, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city would consider a new policy restricting when officers can pursue a suspect on foot. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "Democrats move ahead with sweeping police reforms that will 'embolden criminals,' critics say," 29 Apr. 2021 Republicans in Arkansas and elsewhere have sought to preempt any federal gun control measures that President Joe Biden's administration might pursue, despite questions about the constitutionality of such legal maneuvering. Andrew Demillo, Star Tribune, "Arkansas governor to sign bill nullifying gun restrictions," 28 Apr. 2021 Fans and followers in the comments voiced encouragement for McConaughey to pursue office. Elise Brisco, USA TODAY, "Is Matthew McConaughey running for governor of Texas? Maybe. What we know about his interest in politics," 28 Apr. 2021 Visiting retail locations and buying products from online marketplaces, inspectors seek to identify suspect products and gather evidence to help brands pursue legal action against offending retailers and distributors. Niall Murphy, Forbes, "How Data Science And Crowdsourcing Are Revolutionizing Brand Protection," 28 Apr. 2021 After graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a film degree, Kravitz moved to Chicago to pursue music and screenwriting. cleveland, "‘The Marksman,’ the shot-in-Cleveland movie starring Liam Neeson, was a dream come true for Cleveland native screenwriter," 27 Apr. 2021 That ambiguity is at the heart of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s story, which centers on a ballerina who struggles to reconcile her need to pursue her artistic gifts with her desire for happiness. Keith Phipps, Vulture, "The Best Movies That Lost Best Picture at the Oscars," 27 Apr. 2021 While Olivia went on to primarily pursue acting, The Sun reports that Ed first studied law at Cambridge and went on to focus on writing. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Olivia Colman Hilariously Describes Her "Love at First Sight" Experience With Husband Ed Sinclair," 26 Apr. 2021

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

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pursue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pursue. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for pursue



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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Comments on pursue

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