Etymology
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persecute (v.)

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.

updated on April 12, 2020

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Definitions of persecute from WordNet

persecute (v.)
cause to suffer;
Some religious groups are persecuted in some countries
Synonyms: oppress
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.