Etymology
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chase (v.)

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.

chase (n.1)

mid-13c., chace, "a hunt, a pursuit (of a wild animal) for the purpose of capturing and killing," from Old French chace "a hunt, a chase; hunting ground" (12c.), from chacier (see chase (v.)).

The meaning "a pursuit" (of an enemy, etc.) is from early 14c. The sense of "occupation or pastime of hunting wild animals" is from early 14c.; the meaning "group of hunters pursuing game" is from 1811. The sense of "piece of privately owned open ground preserved for animals to be hunted" is from mid-15c.

chase (n.2)

"groove cut into any object," 1610s, from French chas "enclosure, enclosed space," from Vulgar Latin *capsum, from Latin capere "to take, receive, contain" (from PIE root *kap- "to grasp"). The meaning "bore of a gun barrel" is from 1640s.

updated on November 26, 2022

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