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persecute

[pur-si-kyoot]
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verb (used with object), per·se·cut·ed, per·se·cut·ing.
  1. to pursue with harassing or oppressive treatment, especially because of religious or political beliefs, ethnic or racial origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
  2. to annoy or trouble persistently.
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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 formsper·se·cut·ing·ly, adverbper·se·cu·tive, adjectiveper·se·cu·tive·ness, nounper·se·cu·tor, nounper·se·cu·to·ry [pur-si-kyoo-tuh-ree, -kyuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˈpɜr sɪˌkyu tə ri, -kyəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, adjectivenon·per·se·cut·ing, adjectivenon·per·se·cu·tive, adjectivenon·per·se·cu·to·ry, adjectiveo·ver·per·se·cute, verb (used with object), o·ver·per·se·cut·ed, o·ver·per·se·cut·ing.un·per·se·cut·ed, adjectiveun·per·se·cut·ing, adjectiveun·per·se·cu·tive, adjective
Can be confusedpersecute prosecute

Synonyms

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

autocratdespotextremistzealotracistmaniacfanaticoppressorrascalauthoritarianbullydictatortaskmastermartinetpersecutorenthusiastpuritansticklerpartisansectarian

Examples from the Web for persecutor

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Her persecutor stifled an oath, and sprung after and arrested her.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • Between them they hope to bring the persecutor of the faithful on his knees.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Aunt Lucy was obliged to obey, at least while her persecutor was in the room.

  • In him we may behold the difference between the end of a martyr and a persecutor.

  • Quin looked at her as a Christian martyr might have looked at his persecutor.

    Quin

    Alice Hegan Rice


British Dictionary definitions for persecutor

persecute

verb (tr)
  1. to oppress, harass, or maltreat, esp because of race, religion, etc
  2. to bother persistently
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Derived Formspersecutive, adjectivepersecutor, noun

Word Origin

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 persecutor

n.

early 15c., from Anglo-French persecutour, Old French persecutor "persecutor, enemy" (12c., Modern French persécuteur), from Latin persecutor, agent noun from persequi (see persecution).

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper