pursue

Synonym Chooser

How is the word pursue distinct from other similar verbs?

Some common synonyms of pursue are chase, follow, and trail. While all these words mean "to go after or on the track of something or someone," pursue suggests a continuing effort to overtake, reach, or attain.

pursued the criminal through narrow streets

When might chase be a better fit than pursue?

While in some cases nearly identical to pursue, chase implies going swiftly after and trying to overtake something fleeing or running.

a dog chasing a cat

When is it sensible to use follow instead of pursue?

The synonyms follow and pursue are sometimes interchangeable, but follow puts less emphasis upon speed or intent to overtake.

friends followed me home in their car

When would trail be a good substitute for pursue?

In some situations, the words trail and pursue are roughly equivalent. However, trail may stress a following of tracks or traces rather than a visible object.

trail deer
trailed a suspect across the country

Thesaurus Entries Near pursue

Cite this Entry

“Pursue.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/pursue. Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on pursue

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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