the act of pursuing: in pursuit of the fox.
an effort to secure or attain; quest: the pursuit of happiness.
any occupation, pastime, or the like, in which a person is engaged regularly or customarily: literary pursuits.

1300–50; Middle English < Anglo-French purseuteVulgar Latin *prōsequita for Latin prōsecūta, feminine of prōsecūtus, past participle of prōsequī to pursue; cf. suit

1. chase, hunt. 2. search. 3. activity, preoccupation, inclination.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
pursuit (pəˈsjuːt)
1.  a.  the act of pursuing, chasing, or striving after
 b.  (as modifier): a pursuit plane
2.  an occupation, hobby, or pastime
3.  (in cycling) a race in which the riders set off at intervals along the track and attempt to overtake each other
[C14: from Old French poursieute, from poursivre to prosecute,pursue]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., "persecution," from Anglo-Fr. purseute, from O.Fr. porsuite (early 14c.), from porsivre (see pursue). Meaning "action of pursuit" attested from early 15c.; sense of "one's profession, recreation, etc." first recorded 1520s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The act of in search of a perfect theory in itself is already a pursuit of
We fly still faster in pursuit, twine our snakes around his feet, and bring him
  to the ground.
One of the chief elements of the value of human life is freedom in the pursuit
  of happiness.
In their pursuit of perfection they required an ampler environment.
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