- 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
Synonyms for persecute
- to oppress, harass, or maltreat, esp because of race, religion, etc
- to bother persistently
Word Origin 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.