persecute

[ pur-si-kyoot ]
/ ˈpɜr sɪˌkyut /

verb (used with object), per·se·cut·ed, per·se·cut·ing.

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

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
Can be confusedpersecute prosecute
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for persecute

British Dictionary definitions for persecute

persecute

/ (ˈpɜːsɪˌkjuːt) /

verb (tr)

to oppress, harass, or maltreat, esp because of race, religion, etc
to bother persistently
Derived Formspersecutive, adjectivepersecutor, noun

Word Origin for persecute

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

Word Origin and History for persecute

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