Definition of persecute in English:


Syllabification: per·se·cute
Pronunciation: /ˈpərsəˌkyo͞ot


[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.
oppress, abuse, victimize, ill-treat, mistreat, maltreat, tyrannize, torment, torture;
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.


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



Pronunciation: /-ˌkyo͞otər/
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.


Pronunciation: /-kyo͝oˌtôrē/
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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