pur·sue | \ pər-ˈsü , -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


bird-dog, chase, course, dog, follow, hound, run, shadow, tag, tail, trace, track, trail


guide, lead, pilot

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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

Singular exuberance’ Lang Lang has pursued his career with singular exuberance. David Patrick Stearns, Philly.com, "Lang Lang's recovery: Will he ever play in Philly again?," 12 July 2018 Despite the numerous charges against Weinstein, and allegations of misconduct or inappropriate behavior by dozens of Hollywood women, his lawyer, Weinstein continues to pursue a career. refinery29.com, "Harvey Weinstein Is Reportedly Acting As A Paralegal As He Pleads Not Guilty (Again)," 9 July 2018 Known collectively as the Jesse Kramer Sound, Kramer and Montez met in Nashville, Tenn. — where Kramer has pursued a career in music since graduating from Avon High. David Lindquist, Indianapolis Star, "‘The Four’ competitor Jesse Kramer back in Indiana during break from TV talent search," 6 July 2018 While Labissière, however, managed to relocate to the U.S. to pursue a basketball career, others haven't been as fortunate, which federation officials say is another constraint to basketball's emergence. Jacqueline Charles, miamiherald, "Haiti hoped this competition would be its basketball comeback. Then came bad news," 5 July 2018 His work away from his dad provided the impetus for pursuing a career in city government. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Liberty rehires former interim city manager," 3 July 2018 Garfield had been pursued at different points by dogged HUAC officials and by tabloid reporter Victor Riesel, who was threatening to publish an exposé of the actor and his alleged ties to a vast Communist conspiracy in Hollywood. Noah Isenberg, The New Republic, "Making the Movies Un-American," 3 July 2018 Eventually, with the encouragement of her grandma, Rodriguez pursued an education. Alice Driver, Longreads, "The Road to Asylum," 30 June 2018 Going to a junior college allows him to be eligible for the draft for the next four years, set him up for a potential move to a larger Division I college or pursue a professional career. Paul Johnson, Aurora Beacon-News, "Marmion's Brandon McPherson is the Beacon-News Baseball Player of the Year," 27 June 2018

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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Statistics for pursue

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pursue

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

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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 \
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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an open space surrounded by woods

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