- to pursue with harassing or oppressive treatment, especially because of religious or political beliefs, ethnic or racial origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
- to annoy or trouble persistently.
Origin of persecute
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for persecute
Putin would use such a treaty to persecute innocent Russians who have escaped his grasp by fleeing the country.Putin Toys With Obama as Syria Burns and Snowden Runs Free
July 2, 2013
Not because I think that Obama called Doug Shulman into his office to tell him to persecute the Tea Party.Boy, the Head of the IRS Went to the White House A Lot
May 30, 2013
Yet one of the things it has oppressed is the desire of local majorities to persecute local minorities.Religious Minorities: Wisely Skeptical of Democracy
May 8, 2013
But, then, lacking a solid core, projectors like Gingrich secretly lust after the identities of the people they persecute.Republican Debate: Why Newt Gingrich’s Performance Should Disqualify Him
January 21, 2012
We are also keenly aware of the fact that states routinely use a wide range of charges to persecute the press.Has the Committee to Protect Journalists Betrayed Turkey's Journalists?
December 21, 2011
Pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.An Explanation of Luther's Small Catechism
With your lying tongue you have changed her into a demon to persecute me!Green Mansions
W. H. Hudson
If they have hated me they will hate you also; if they have persecuted me they will persecute you.'The Works of Whittier, Volume V (of VII)
John Greenleaf Whittier
They may beat me and persecute me, but I will never deny my God.The Cat of Bubastes
G. A. Henty
Badges of honor; since to be persecuted is nobler than to persecute.Dreamers of the Ghetto
- to oppress, harass, or maltreat, esp because of race, religion, etc
- to bother persistently
Word Origin and History for persecute
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.