Borrowed from Middle French persécuter, from Ecclesiastical Latin persecutor, from Latin persequor, persecutus (“follow up, pursue”), from per- (“through”) + sequor (“follow”) (English sequel). Compare prosecute. Cf. also pursue.
- To pursue in a manner to injure, grieve, or afflict; to beset with cruelty or malignity; to harass; especially, to afflict, harass, punish, or put to death for one's race, sexual identity, adherence to a particular religious creed, or mode of worship.
- He who persecutes one will persecute all.
- To harass with importunity; to pursue with persistent solicitations; to annoy.
Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for persecute in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)