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.)). Meaning "a pursuit" (of an enemy, etc.) is early 14c. Meaning "occupation or passtime of hunting wild animals" is from early 14c.; meaning "group of hunters pursuing game" is from 1811. Sense of "piece of privately owned open ground preserved for animals to be hunted" is from mid-15c.
"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"). Meaning "bore of a gun barrel" is from 1640s.
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.).
Meaning "run after" for any purpose developed 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 ones often derive from words used primarily for the hunting of animals.
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