verb (used with object), pur·sued, pur·su·ing.

verb (used without object), pur·sued, pur·su·ing.

to chase after someone or something; to follow in pursuit: They spotted the suspect but decided not to pursue.
to continue.

Origin of pursue

1250–1300; Middle English pursuen < Anglo-French pursuerLatin prōsequī to pursue, follow, continue. See pro-1, sue, prosecute
Related formspur·su·a·ble, adjectiveout·pur·sue, verb (used with object), out·pur·sued, out·pur·su·ing.re·pur·sue, verb (used with object), re·pur·sued, re·pur·su·ing.un·pur·su·a·ble, adjectiveun·pur·sued, adjectiveun·pur·su·ing, adjective
Can be confusedperuse pursue

Synonyms for pursue

1. trail, hunt. 2. dog.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pursue

Contemporary Examples of pursue

Historical Examples of pursue

  • Leaving the two to pursue their voyage home, we return to Captain Haley.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • His last letter gives no clue to the track he intended to pursue.

  • He could resign himself to his reveries, and pursue them into new subtleties day by day.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • It is sweet and refreshing to pursue our old subjects of discourse.

  • It was the only course to pursue with anyone from Denson coulee.

British Dictionary definitions for pursue


verb -sues, -suing or -sued (mainly tr)

(also intr) to follow (a fugitive, etc) in order to capture or overtake
(esp of something bad or unlucky) to follow closely or accompanyill health pursued her
to seek or strive to attain (some object, desire, etc)
to follow the precepts of (a plan, policy, etc)
to apply oneself to (one's studies, hobbies, etc)
to follow persistently or seek to become acquainted with
to continue to discuss or argue (a point, subject, etc)
Derived Formspursuer, noun

Word Origin for pursue

C13: from Anglo-Norman pursiwer, from Old French poursivre, from Latin prōsequī to follow after
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 pursue

late 13c., "to follow with hostile intent," from Anglo-French pursuer and directly from Old French poursuir (Modern French poursuivre), variant of porsivre "to chase, pursue, follow; continue, carry on," from Vulgar Latin *prosequare, from Latin prosequi "follow, accompany, attend; follow after, escort; follow up, pursue," from pro- "forward" (see pro-) + sequi "follow" (see sequel). Meaning "to proceed, to follow" (a path, etc.), usually figurative (a course of action, etc.), is from late 14c. This sense also was in Latin. Related: Pursued; pursuing. For sense, cf. prosecute.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper