Definition of persecute in English:

persecute

Line breaks: per|se¦cute
Pronunciation: /ˈpəːsɪkjuːt
 
/

verb

[with object]
1Subject (someone) to hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of their race or political or religious beliefs: his followers were persecuted by the authorities
More example sentences
  • She claims she has been persecuted because of her religious beliefs.
  • We should also be targeting the source of the problem: repressive governments which persecute their own citizens.
  • We see a dictator using force to repress and persecute his opponents.
Synonyms
oppress, abuse, victimize, ill-treat, mistreat, maltreat, discriminate against, punish, inflict pain/suffering on, tyrannize, afflict, torment, torture, martyr
1.1Harass or annoy (someone) persistently: Hilda was persecuted by some of the other girls
More example sentences
  • For three years after DNA evidence proved his innocence, the authorities persisted in persecuting him.
  • They are doing the opposite by picking on them and by persecuting people more than they have for years.
  • Last week we witnessed two fine examples of the extent to which anti-smoking zealots will go in order to hound and persecute smokers.
Synonyms
harass, hound, plague, badger, harry, bait, intimidate, pick on, trouble, molest, tease, pester, bother, worry, annoy, bedevil, bully, victimize, terrorize; North Americandevil
informal hassle, give someone a hard time, get on someone's back, make it/things hot for someone, get/stick the knife into
Australian informal heavy
US black slang vamp on

Origin

late Middle English: from Old French persecuter, from Latin persecut- 'followed with hostility', from the verb persequi, from per- 'through, utterly' + sequi 'follow, pursue'.

Derivatives

persecutor

noun
More example sentences
  • But he is badly scarred mentally by his tortuous treatment at the hands of his persecutors.
  • Some of these children manage to flee their persecutors, and this film documents their attempts to be rehabilitated after surviving their severe traumas.
  • Thus the protectors themselves turned into persecutors.

persecutory

adjective
More example sentences
  • However, in my attempts to understand I am not hampered by the persecutory activities of the state, religion or the mob.
  • He asks whether the persecutory figures are still there.
  • The paranoid type have prominent persecutory or grandiose delusions or hallucinations with similar content.

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