mid-15c., persecuten, "to oppress for the holding of an opinion or adherence to a particular creed or mode of worship," from Old French persécuter "pursue, torment, open legal action" (14c.) and directly from Latin persecutus, past participle of persequi "to follow, pursue, hunt down; proceed against, prosecute, start a legal action," from per "through" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + sequi "follow" (from PIE root *sekw- (1) "to follow"). Related: Persecuted; persecuting.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to follow."
It forms all or part of: associate; association; consequence; consequent; dissociate; ensue; execute; extrinsic; intrinsic; obsequious; persecute; persecution; prosecute; pursue; second (adj.) "next after first;" second (n.) "one-sixtieth of a minute;" sect; secundine; segue; sequacious; sequel; sequence; sequester; sociable; social; society; socio-; subsequent; sue; suit; suite; suitor; tocsin.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit sacate "accompanies, follows;" Avestan hacaiti, Greek hepesthai "to follow;" Latin sequi "to follow, come after," secundus "second, the following;" Lithuanian seku, sekti "to follow;" Old Irish sechim "I follow."
Proto-Indo-European root forming prepositions, etc., meaning "forward," and, by extension, "in front of, before, first, chief, toward, near, against," etc.
It forms all or part of: afford; approach; appropriate; approve; approximate; barbican; before; deprive; expropriate; far; first; for; for-; fore; fore-; forefather; foremost; former (adj.); forth; frame; frau; fret; Freya; fro; froward; from; furnish; furniture; further; galore; hysteron-proteron; impervious; improbity; impromptu; improve; palfrey; par (prep.); para- (1) "alongside, beyond; altered; contrary; irregular, abnormal;" paradise; pardon; paramount; paramour; parvenu; pellucid; per; per-; percent; percussion; perennial; perestroika; perfect; perfidy; perform; perfume; perfunctory; perhaps; peri-; perish; perjury; permanent; permeate; permit; pernicious; perpendicular; perpetual; perplex; persecute; persevere; perspective; perspire; persuasion; pertain; peruse; pervade; pervert; pierce; portray; postprandial; prae-; Prakrit; pre-; premier; presbyter; Presbyterian; preterite; pride; priest; primal; primary; primate; primavera; prime; primeval; primitive; primo; primogenitor; primogeniture; primordial; primus; prince; principal; principle; prior; pristine; private; privilege; privy; pro (n.2) "a consideration or argument in favor;" pro-; probably; probe; probity; problem; proceed; proclaim; prodigal; produce; profane; profess; profile; profit; profound; profuse; project; promise; prompt; prone; proof; proper; property; propinquity; prophet; prose; prostate; prosthesis; protagonist; Protean; protect; protein; Proterozoic; protest; proto-; protocol; proton; protoplasm; Protozoa; proud; prove; proverb; provide; provoke; prow; prowess; proximate; Purana; purchase; purdah; reciprocal; rapprochement; reproach; reprove; veneer.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit pari "around, about, through," parah "farther, remote, ulterior," pura "formerly, before," pra- "before, forward, forth;" Avestan pairi- "around," paro "before;" Hittite para "outside of," Greek peri "around, about, near, beyond," pera "across, beyond," paros "before," para "from beside, beyond," pro "before;" Latin pro "before, for, on behalf of, instead of," porro "forward," prae "before," per "through;" Old Church Slavonic pra-dedu "great-grandfather;" Russian pere- "through;" Lithuanian per "through;" Old Irish ire "farther," roar "enough;" Gothic faura "before," Old English fore (prep.) "before, in front of," (adv.) "before, previously," fram "forward, from," feor "to a great distance, long ago;" German vor "before, in front of;" Old Irish air- Gothic fair-, German ver-, Old English fer-, intensive prefixes.
"to compel by repeated threats or harassment," 1680s, literally "to force by the agency of dragoons" (which were used by the French kings to persecute Protestants), from dragoon (n.). Related: Dragooned; dragooning.
c. 1300, chacen "to hunt; to cause to go away; put to flight," from Old French chacier "to hunt, ride swiftly, strive for" (12c., Modern French chasser), from Vulgar Latin *captiare "try to seize, chase" (source of Italian cacciare, Catalan casar, Spanish cazar, Portuguese caçar "to chase, hunt"), from Latin captare "to take, hold," frequentative of capere "to take, hold" (from PIE root *kap- "to grasp"). The Old French word is a variant of cacier, cachier, making chase a doublet of catch (v.).
The meaning "run after" for any purpose is by mid-14c. Related: Chased; chasing. Ancient European words for "pursue" often also cover "persecute" (Greek dioko, Old English ehtan), and in Middle English chase also meant "to persecute." Many modern "chase" words often derive from verbs used primarily for the hunting of animals.
1550s, from Latin urgere "to press hard, push forward, force, drive, compel, stimulate," perhaps [de Vaan] from a PIE root *urgh- "to tie, bind" (source also of Lithuanian veržti "tie, fasten, squeeze," vargas "need, distress," vergas "slave;" Old Church Slavonic vragu "enemy;" Gothic wrikan "persecute," Old English wrecan "drive, hunt, pursue"), via a notion of "to weigh down on," hence "to insist, impel." The other possibility is that the PIE root is *ureg- "to follow a track." Related: Urged; urging.
Old English wrecan "avenge," originally "to drive, drive out, punish" (class V strong verb; past tense wræc, past participle wrecen), from Proto-Germanic *wrekanan (source also of Old Saxon wrekan, Old Norse reka, Old Frisian wreka, Middle Dutch wreken "to drive, push, compel, pursue, throw," Old High German rehhan, German rächen "to avenge," Gothic wrikan "to persecute"), from PIE root *wreg- "to push, shove, drive, track down" (see urge (v.)). Meaning "inflict or take vengeance," with on, is recorded from late 15c.; that of "inflict or cause (damage or destruction)" is attested from 1817. Compare wrack (v.). Related: Wreaked; wreaking.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to split," with derivatives in Germanic "referring to biting (hence also to eating and to hunting) and woodworking" [Watkins].
It forms all or part of: abet; bait (n.) "food used to attract prey;" bait (v.) "to torment, persecute;" bateau; beetle (n.1) "type of insect; bit (n.1) "small piece;" bite; bitter; bitter end; boat; boatswain; -fid; fissile; fission; fissure; giblets; pita; pizza; vent (n.).
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bhinadmi "I cleave," Latin Latin findere "to split, cleave, separate, divide," Old High German bizzan "to bite," Old English bita "a piece bitten off, morsel," Old Norse beita "to hunt with dogs," beita "pasture, food."
c. 1200, "to torment or persecute (someone);" c. 1300, "to set a dog to bite and worry (an animal, especially a confined one, for sport)," from Old Norse beita "to cause to bite," from Proto-Germanic *baitjan (source also of Old English bætan "to cause to bite," Old High German beizzen "to bait," Middle High German beiz "hunting," German beizen "to hawk, to cauterize, etch"), causative of *bitan (see bite (v.)).
The earliest attested use is figurative of the literal one, which is from the popular medieval entertainment of setting dogs on some ferocious beast to bite and worry it. The verb also in Middle English could mean "put a horse or other domestic beast out to feed or graze," and, of persons, "to eat food," also figuratively "feast the eye" (late 14c.). Compare bait (n.). Related: Baited; baiting.