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persecute

[pur-si-kyoot] /ˈpɜr sɪˌkyut/
verb (used with object), persecuted, persecuting.
1.
to pursue with harassing or oppressive treatment, especially because of religious or political beliefs, ethnic or racial origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
2.
to annoy or trouble persistently.
Origin of persecute
late Middle English
1400-1450
1400-50; late Middle English; back formation from persecutour persecutor ≪ Late Latin persecūtor orig. prosecutor, equivalent to persecū-, variant stem of persequī to prosecute, pursue closely (see per-, sequence) + -tor -tor
Related forms
persecutingly, adverb
persecutive, adjective
persecutiveness, noun
persecutor, noun
persecutory
[pur-si-kyoo-tuh-ree, -kyuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˈpɜr sɪˌkyu tə ri, -kyəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/ (Show IPA),
adjective
nonpersecuting, adjective
nonpersecutive, adjective
nonpersecutory, adjective
overpersecute, verb (used with object), overpersecuted, overpersecuting.
unpersecuted, adjective
unpersecuting, adjective
unpersecutive, adjective
Can be confused
persecute, prosecute.
Synonyms
1. afflict, torture, torment. 2. worry, badger, vex, bother, pester.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for persecute
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • “Implacable fate does not tire to persecute me,” he replied.

    Other People's Money Emile Gaboriau
  • Pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

  • Forsaken and forgotten, thy children owe thee no duty, no obedience; thou canst bring forward no plea to persecute thy child.

    The Days of Bruce Vol 1 Grace Aguilar
  • With your lying tongue you have changed her into a demon to persecute me!

    Green Mansions W. H. Hudson
  • We all made a frightful mistake, they say, in daring to arrest and persecute this most distinguished and honorable citizen.

    Through the Wall Cleveland Moffett
British Dictionary definitions for persecute

persecute

/ˈpɜːsɪˌkjuːt/
verb (transitive)
1.
to oppress, harass, or maltreat, esp because of race, religion, etc
2.
to bother persistently
Derived Forms
persecutive, adjective
persecutor, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Old French persecuter, back formation from persecuteur, from Late Latin persecūtor pursuer, from persequī to take vengeance upon
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for persecute
v.

mid-15c., "to oppress for the holding of a belief or opinion," from Middle French persécuter "pursue, torment, open legal action" (14c.), from Latin persecutus, past participle of persequi "to pursue" (see persecution). Related: Persecuted; persecuting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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