Etymology
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pursue (v.)

late 13c., "follow with hostile intent, follow with a view of overtaking," 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" (from PIE root *sekw- (1) "to follow").

The meaning "to proceed, to follow" (a path, etc.), usually figurative (in reference to a course of action, etc.), is from late 14c. This sense also was in Latin. The meaning "seek, seek to obtain" also is late 14c. Related: Pursued; pursuing. For sense, compare prosecute.

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pursuer (n.)

late 14c., purseuere, "one who follows or chases with hostility, a persecutor or tormenter," agent noun from pursue.

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pursual (n.)

"act of pursuit, pursuance," 1786, from pursue + -al (2). Earlier was pursuance and the verbal noun pursuing "action of giving chase" (late 14c.).

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pursuant (adj.)

late 14c., "done in consequence of or in prosecution of something," from Anglo-French pursuant, from Old French poursuiant, porsivant, present participle of porsuir, porsivre "chase, pursue" (see pursue). Meaning "carrying out; following, according" is from 1690s. As an adverb, "according, agreeably," 1670s. As a noun, "one who seeks, an aspirant," late 14c.

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prosecute (v.)

early 15c., prosecuten, "to follow up, pursue with a view to carry out or obtain" (some course or action), from Latin prosecutus, past participle of prosequi "follow after, accompany; chase, pursue; attack, assail, abuse," from pro- "forward" (see pro-) + sequi "follow" (from PIE root *sekw- (1) "to follow"). Meaning "bring to a court of law, seek to obtain by legal process" is recorded from 1570s. The Latin verb in Old French became prosequer, vulgarly porsuir, which passed to English as pursue.

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pursuance (n.)

"act of following or pursuing," 1590s, from French poursuiance "act of pursuing," from Old French poursuir "to chase, pursue, follow; continue, carry on" (see pursue).

Pursuance is not now used except in the moral sense, and then generally in the sense of following out : as, pursuance of his original intention ; in pursuance of a peculiar theory. [Century Dictionary]
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pursuit (n.)

late 14c., "persecution" (a sense now obsolete), also "a chase with hostile intent," from Anglo-French purseute, pursuite, Old French porsuite "a search, pursuit" (14c., Modern French poursuite), from porsivre (see pursue).

Meaning "action of following briskly for the purpose of overtaking" (regardless of intent) is from mid-15c. Sense of "one's profession, recreation, etc." is attested from 1520s on the notion of "object of one's continued exertions, what one follows or engages in." As a type of track cycling race from 1938.

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sue (v.)
c. 1200, "continue, persevere," from Anglo-French suer "follow after, continue," Old French suir, sivre "pursue, follow after, sue in court" (Modern French suivre), from Vulgar Latin *sequere "follow," from Latin sequi "follow" (from PIE root *sekw- (1) "to follow"). Sense of "start a lawsuit against" first recorded c. 1300, on notion of "following up" a matter in court. Sometimes short for ensue or pursue. Meaning "make entreaty, petition, plead" (usually with for) is from late 14c. Related: Sued; suing.
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*sekw- (1)

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."

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course (v.)
Origin and meaning of course

mid-15c., "to pursue, hound" (obsolete); 1530s, "to run, pass over," from course (n.). Related: Coursed; coursing.

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