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[per-soo] /pərˈsu/
verb (used with object), pursued, pursuing.
to follow in order to overtake, capture, kill, etc.; chase.
to follow close upon; go with; attend:
Bad luck pursued him.
to strive to gain; seek to attain or accomplish (an end, object, purpose, etc.).
to proceed in accordance with (a method, plan, etc.).
to carry on or continue (a course of action, a train of thought, an inquiry, studies, etc.).
to continue to annoy, afflict, or trouble.
to practice (an occupation, pastime, etc.).
to continue to discuss (a subject, topic, etc.).
to follow:
They pursued the river to its source. I felt their eyes pursuing me.
to continue; go on with (one's course, a journey, etc.).
verb (used without object), pursued, pursuing.
to chase after someone or something; to follow in pursuit:
They spotted the suspect but decided not to pursue.
to continue.
Origin of pursue
1250-1300; Middle English pursuen < Anglo-French pursuerLatin prōsequī to pursue, follow, continue. See pro-1, sue, prosecute
Related forms
pursuable, adjective
outpursue, verb (used with object), outpursued, outpursuing.
repursue, verb (used with object), repursued, repursuing.
unpursuable, adjective
unpursued, adjective
unpursuing, adjective
Can be confused
peruse, pursue.
1. trail, hunt. 2. dog. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pursue
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I will pursue her as much after my death as I have during my life.

    Old and New Paris, v. 1 Henry Sutherland Edwards
  • Leaving the two to pursue their voyage home, we return to Captain Haley.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • I saw Charley shoot down one in very good style, and then pursue another which he had made up his mind to overtake.

    Adventures in the Far West W.H.G. Kingston
  • It was the only course to pursue with anyone from Denson coulee.

    Chip, of the Flying U B. M. Bower
  • This was the only course for the government to pursue for the preservation of its dignity, and perhaps the safety of the republic.

British Dictionary definitions for pursue


verb (mainly transitive) -sues, -suing, -sued
(also intransitive) to follow (a fugitive, etc) in order to capture or overtake
(esp of something bad or unlucky) to follow closely or accompany: ill health pursued her
to seek or strive to attain (some object, desire, etc)
to follow the precepts of (a plan, policy, etc)
to apply oneself to (one's studies, hobbies, etc)
to follow persistently or seek to become acquainted with
to continue to discuss or argue (a point, subject, etc)
Derived Forms
pursuer, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Anglo-Norman pursiwer, from Old French poursivre, from Latin prōsequī to follow after
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 pursue

late 13c., "to follow with hostile intent," from Anglo-French pursuer and directly from Old French poursuir (Modern French poursuivre), variant of porsivre "to chase, pursue, follow; continue, carry on," from Vulgar Latin *prosequare, from Latin prosequi "follow, accompany, attend; follow after, escort; follow up, pursue," from pro- "forward" (see pro-) + sequi "follow" (see sequel). Meaning "to proceed, to follow" (a path, etc.), usually figurative (a course of action, etc.), is from late 14c. This sense also was in Latin. Related: Pursued; pursuing. For sense, cf. prosecute.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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