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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from pursue

pursuer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for pursue



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Instead, the pandemic gave her a chance to pursue her dream. NBC News, "Millions of Americans moved during the pandemic — and most aren't looking back," 1 Jan. 2021 So losing the ability to pursue Bogdanovic was Milwaukee’s real penalty here, while Sacramento wound up losing Bogdanovic without compensation after electing not to match Atlanta’s four-year, $72 million offer sheet. New York Times, "From Kobe to LeBron: Tragedy and Triumph in the N.B.A.," 30 Dec. 2020 The studios have not exactly encouraged them to stay open, and the decision of some such as Warner Bros. and Disney to pursue streaming options is a blow to traditional moviegoing unimaginable in past eras. Michael Washburn, National Review, "The Moviegoer at 60," 27 Dec. 2020 More New Orleans high school kids will get a chance to pursue careers STEM careers -- science, technology, engineering and math -- thanks to a $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Della Hasselle | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "New Orleans program gets $4 million grant to help prepare more kids for STEM careers," 27 Dec. 2020 On Monday Barr again indicated there was no reason have a special counsel to pursue the unfounded claims of election fraud. Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY, "Tensions between Trump and GOP lawmakers increase amid attempt to overturn election, COVID relief efforts," 24 Dec. 2020 But the recent worker unrest at an iPhone factory in the southern Indian state of Karnataka raises doubts over the country’s readiness to pursue this ambition. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Modi’s Make in India revolution is coming at the cost of Indian factory workers," 23 Dec. 2020 And some have seized the opportunity to pursue a dream that might otherwise have never seen the light of day. Samantha Nobles-block, SFChronicle.com, "These Bay Area residents found new careers during the pandemic — by choice or necessity," 22 Dec. 2020 New York hedge fund Anchorage Capital Group, MGM’s largest shareholder, has come under pressure to pursue an exit through a sale. Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times, "James Bond studio MGM is exploring a sale. So who’s buying?," 21 Dec. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pursue

Time Traveler for pursue

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for pursue

Last Updated

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pursue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pursue. Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!