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 Hendrickson also pursues tangential threads to make larger cultural and historical connections. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, "He burned Frank Lloyd Wright’s house and killed his mistress — but why?," 22 Nov. 2019 The first-year governor instead has generally pursued a middle ground between the environment and big water users allied with Washington. Taylor Kate Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Briefing: She tried to save a life on BART," 22 Nov. 2019 For years the agency pursued a hybrid rocket fueled by paraffin wax and a liquid oxidizer. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Bold space mission to bring back rocks from Mars takes shape," 21 Nov. 2019 The officer pursued and was able to obtain the car’s license plate number. cleveland, "Man arrested for urinating in mall lot, possessing open container: Beachwood Police Blotter," 21 Nov. 2019 Prosecutors declined to pursue a cocaine possession charge though, according to court documents. Tonya Alanez, sun-sentinel.com, "Forklift operator in fatal crash fined for no license 3 times since 2011, court records show," 20 Nov. 2019 Cooper, Colin Schooler and Tony Fields II – aggressively pursued Cyrus Habibi-Likio on a run to the left side. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "Hope or hopeless? Takeaways from Arizona Wildcats' loss to Oregon Ducks," 18 Nov. 2019 Chris Hondros—Getty Images Racing prospects took a dive in the 1970s, and Shelby, an avid entrepreneur, pursued other ventures, including safari expeditions, chili manufacturing and land development. Alejandro De La Garza, Time, "The True Story Behind the Movie Ford v Ferrari," 15 Nov. 2019 My research did not pass judgment as to which scenario should be pursued. Marcus Enoch, Quartz, "What public transport might look like in 2045," 14 Nov. 2019

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

25 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Pursue.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pursue. Accessed 6 December 2019.

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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

Comments on pursue

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


very cautious or careful

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