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

When the economy tanked a decade ago, Ellen Waylonis took a voluntary layoff from her marketing job and pursued her longtime secret ambition: running off to join the circus. BostonGlobe.com, "Her circus business embraces the unconventional," 14 July 2018 These Pictures, actively pursues projects that both entertain and push boundaries. Jordan Crucchiola, The Cut, "Scarlett Johansson Leaves Her Role in Rub & Tug," 13 July 2018 Law enforcement and financial regulators have pursued money laundering in cryptocurrencies in recent years, in some instances filing criminal charges and issuing multimillion-dollar fines. Gabriel T. Rubin, WSJ, "How Bitcoin Fueled Russian Hacks," 13 July 2018 These Pictures, actively pursues projects that both entertain and push boundaries. refinery29.com, "Scarlett Johansson Withdraws From Rub Tug & Apologizes For "Insensitive" Remarks," 13 July 2018 Tyler Acosta is still pursuing a career in professional baseball and looks forward to signing his first pro contract. Steve Reaven, chicagotribune.com, "Barrington OF Tyler Acosta heads to college after declining to sign with Arizona Diamondbacks," 12 July 2018 Instead of trading for Jorge Soler, the Royals could’ve pursued outfielder Josh Reddick. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "The State of the Royals, Part 1 of 2: How did they get here?," 12 July 2018 Police began pursuing the truck, and after a short period, one of the people — later identified as Deronde Bethea, 26 — exited the vehicle on Mill Street in Stoughton and discarded the gun, which police later recovered. Elise Takahama, BostonGlobe.com, "Brockton man arrested after home invasion and foot pursuit in Canton," 14 July 2018 Michael Bronson, a military veteran and Art Institute student pursuing a bachelor’s of science in digital film and video production, doesn’t plan to complete his degree. Annabelle Williams, Philly.com, "Art Institute of Philadelphia closing leaves students and employees with hard decisions," 12 July 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

14 Oct 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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