verb (used with object), per·se·cut·ed, per·se·cut·ing.
Origin of persecute
Synonyms for persecute
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.