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 Officers were able to get GPS tracking information for the vehicle from a dealership, and the department’s helicopter spotted the car on Bruton Road about 8:30 a.m. and began to pursue it. Tom Steele, Dallas News, "17-year-old stole woman’s car with her son still inside, Dallas police say," 13 Feb. 2020 With merciless figures from his past pursuing him, The Man’s search for answers propels him through the vast and unforgiving outback. Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Fleabag' Producer, BBC Reunite on Australian Mystery Thriller 'The Tourist' (Exclusive)," 12 Feb. 2020 The Senate voted 51-45 on Wednesday to limit President Trump from pursuing military action in Iran without congressional approval. TheWeek, "8 Republicans join Democrats in vote to limit Trump's military powers in Iran," 12 Feb. 2020 The driver was able to escape from police and sped westbound down Mowry Avenue while officers pursued him, the department said in a news release. J.d. Morris, SFChronicle.com, "Teen robbery suspect arrested after police chase in Fremont ends in crash," 9 Feb. 2020 Police in El Salvador are extremely aggressive in pursuing them, and civilians can get caught in the crossfire, Human Rights Watch finds. Mneesha Gellman, The Conversation, "Deported to death: US sent 138 Salvadorans home to be killed," 6 Feb. 2020 Following a trial, the suspect could face life in prison or capital punishment if Attorney General William Barr pursues it. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, "'Domestic terrorism': El Paso mass shooting suspect indicted on 90 hate crime charges," 6 Feb. 2020 And Democratic commissioners have, on the other hand, voted to pursue them. Ilya Marritz, ProPublica, "How Parnas and Fruman’s Dodgy Donation Was Uncovered by Two People Using Google Translate," 5 Feb. 2020 Only recently was Tinder implicated in the murder of Grace Millane, whose killer pursued her on the app before their date. Emily Reynolds, refinery29.com, "What Happens When You See Your Rapist On Tinder," 5 Feb. 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.

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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

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pursue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pursue. Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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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

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