[ 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

SYNONYMS FOR persecute

Related forms

Can be confused

persecute prosecute Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for persecutory

British Dictionary definitions for persecutory (1 of 2)


/ (ˈpɜːsɪˌkjuːtərɪ) /


involving or characteristic of persecution

British Dictionary definitions for persecutory (2 of 2)


/ (ˈpɜːsɪˌkjuːt) /

verb (tr)

to oppress, harass, or maltreat, esp because of race, religion, etc
to bother persistently

Derived Forms

persecutive, 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