verb (used with object), prosecuted, prosecuting.
to institute legal proceedings against (a person).
to seek to enforce or obtain by legal process.
to conduct criminal proceedings in court against.
to follow up or carry forward something undertaken or begun, usually to its completion: to prosecute a war.
to carry on or practice.
verb (used without object), prosecuted, prosecuting.
to institute and carry on a legal prosecution.
to act as prosecutor.

1400–50; late Middle English prosecuten to follow up, go on with < Latin prōsecūtus, past participle of prōsequī to pursue, proceed with, equivalent to prō- pro-1 + secū-, variant stem of sequī to follow + -tus past participle suffix

prosecutable, adjective
prosecutability, noun
nonprosecutable, adjective
quasi-prosecuted, adjective
reprosecute, verb (used with object), reprosecuted, reprosecuting.
well-prosecuted, adjective

persecute, prosecute.

3. perform, discharge, execute, conduct. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
prosecute (ˈprɒsɪˌkjuːt)
1.  (tr) to bring a criminal action against (a person) for some offence
2.  (intr)
 a.  to seek redress by legal proceedings
 b.  to institute or conduct a prosecution
3.  (tr) to engage in or practise (a profession or trade)
4.  (tr) to continue to do (a task, etc)
[C15: from Latin prōsequī to follow, from prō- forward + sequī to follow]

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

early 15c., "follow up, pursue" (some course or action), from L. prosecutus, pp. of prosequi "follow after" (see pursue). Meaning "bring to a court of law" is first recorded 1570s. Prosecutor in legal sense is attested from 1660s; prosecution in this sense is from 1630s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
So it should be easy for you to win a civil action against homeopaths, or to get the police to prosecute them.
There have been several incidents where they had to fire and/or prosecute
  baggage screeners at some airports.
Certainly, whether there is enough evidence to prosecute them is debatable.
But there is a law on paper to prosecute the offender.
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