What does persecute mean?

Definitions for persecute
ˈpɜr sɪˌkyutper·se·cute

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word persecute.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. persecute, oppressverb

    cause to suffer

    "Jews were persecuted in the former Soviet Union"


  1. persecuteverb

    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.

    "Do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Matt. 5:44.

  2. persecuteverb

    To harass with importunity; to pursue with persistent solicitations; to annoy.

  3. Etymology: From persécuter, from persequor, from (English sequel). Compare prosecute.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To PERSECUTEverb

    Etymology: persecuter, Fr. persecutus, Lat.

    I persecuted this way unto the death. Acts xxii. 4.

    They might have fallen down, being persecuted of vengeance, and scattered abroad. Wisdom xi. 20.

    For what offence the queen of heav’n began
    To persecute so brave, so just a man! Dryden.


  1. persecute

    Persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another individual or group. The most common forms are religious persecution, racism, and political persecution, though there is naturally some overlap between these terms. The inflicting of suffering, harassment, imprisonment, internment, fear or pain are all factors that may establish persecution, but not all suffering will necessarily establish persecution. The threshold of severity has been a source of much debate.


  1. persecute

    Persecute means to subject someone to hostility, harm, or punishment, often due to their race, religion, nationality, political beliefs, or personal characteristics. It involves constant harassment, oppression, or ill-treatment over an extended period of time.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Persecuteverb

    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 adherence to a particular religious creed or mode of worship

  2. Persecuteverb

    to harass with importunity; to pursue with persistent solicitations; to annoy

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Persecute

    pėr′se-kūt, v.t. to pursue so as to injure or annoy: to follow after persistently: to annoy or punish, esp. for religious or political opinions.—ns. Persecū′tion, act or practice of persecuting: state of being persecuted: a time of general oppression on account of religious opinions; Per′secūtor:—fem. Per′secūtrix. [Fr.,—L. persequi, persecutusper, thoroughly, sequi, to follow.]

How to pronounce persecute?

How to say persecute in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of persecute in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of persecute in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of persecute in a Sentence

  1. Henry Thomas Buckle:

    If you can impress any man with an absorbing conviction of the supreme importance of some moral or religious doctrine if you can make him believe that those who reject that doctrine are doomed to eternal perdition if you then give that man power, and by means of his ignorance blind him to the ulterior consequences of his own act,-he will infallibly persecute those who deny his doctrine.

  2. Maya Wang:

    A lot of these governments don't care about human rights, they are unelected governments that persecute their citizens in their countries. There is no real rule of law and democracy when it comes to deportations of Uyghurs.

  3. Ted Cruz:

    Rather than giving tens of billions of dollars to the IRS to harass and persecute American taxpayers, I think we should abolish the IRS and instead adopt a simple flat tax.

  4. Benjamin Weingarten:

    That House Democrats' final act in the majority was to strike one last blow in their relentless war against Donald Trump — in the process running roughshod over the very norms and institutions they so claim to cherish — marks a fitting end to their progressive rule, and tells you all you need to know about their priorities and posture as they lose their grip on power, this was of a piece with the Soviet show trial-style January 6th Committee that recently reached its unceremonious conclusion, the primary purpose of which was never to unearth truth or hold people to account, but to politically persecute political foes declared guilty at the outset while the Biden Justice Department does the Democrats' legal bidding in criminalizing its political opponents.

  5. Fatou Bensouda:

    We believe he ordered his troops to attack, pillage, rape, persecute and kill civilians belonging to Lendu, Ngiti and other ethnic groups, we believe he recruited hundreds of children into the UPC (Union of Congolese Patriots) and used them to kill and to die in the fighting; and girl soldiers to be routinely raped.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for persecute

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for persecute »


Find a translation for the persecute definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"persecute." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 28 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/persecute>.

Discuss these persecute definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for persecute? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Image or illustration of


    Credit »

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    remove completely from recognition or memory
    A famish
    B affront
    C efface
    D abide

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for persecute: