What does prosecute mean?

Definitions for prosecute
ˈprɒs ɪˌkyutpros·e·cute

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

Princeton's WordNet

  1. prosecuteverb

    conduct a prosecution in a court of law

  2. prosecuteverb

    bring a criminal action against (in a trial)

    "The State of California prosecuted O.J. Simpson"

  3. prosecute, engage, pursueverb

    carry out or participate in an activity; be involved in

    "She pursued many activities"; "They engaged in a discussion"


  1. prosecuteverb

    To start civil or criminal proceedings against.

  2. prosecuteverb

    To charge, try.

  3. prosecuteverb

    To pursue something to the end.

  4. Etymology: From prosecutus, perfect participle of prosequor. Compare persecute.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To PROSECUTEverb

    Etymology: prosequor, prosecutus, Lat.

    I am belov’d of beauteous Hermia,
    Why should not I then prosecute my right? William Shakespeare.

    I must not omit a father’s timely care,
    To prosecute the means of thy deliverance
    By ransom. John Milton, Agonistes.

    He prosecuted this purpose with strength of argument and close reasoning, without incoherent sallies. John Locke.

    The same reasons, which induced you to entertain this war, will induce you also to prosecute the same. John Hayward.

    All resolute to prosecute their ire,
    Seeking their own and country’s cause to free. Daniel.

    He infested Oxford, which gave them the more reason to prosecute the fortifications. Edward Hyde.

    With louder cries
    She prosecutes her griefs, and thus replies. Dryden.

    It were an infinite labour to prosecute those things, so far as they might be exemplified in religious and civil actions. Richard Hooker, b. iv. s. 1.


  1. prosecute

    A prosecutor is a legal representative of the prosecution in states with either the common law adversarial system or the civil law inquisitorial system. The prosecution is the legal party responsible for presenting the case in a criminal trial against an individual accused of breaking the law. Typically, the prosecutor represents the state or the government in the case brought against the accused person.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Prosecuteverb

    to follow or pursue with a view to reach, execute, or accomplish; to endeavor to obtain or complete; to carry on; to continue; as, to prosecute a scheme, hope, or claim

  2. Prosecuteverb

    to seek to obtain by legal process; as, to prosecute a right or a claim in a court of law

  3. Prosecuteverb

    to pursue with the intention of punishing; to accuse of some crime or breach of law, or to pursue for redress or punishment, before a legal tribunal; to proceed against judicially; as, to prosecute a man for trespass, or for a riot

  4. Prosecuteverb

    to follow after

  5. Prosecuteverb

    to institute and carry on a legal prosecution; as, to prosecute for public offenses

  6. Etymology: [L. prosecutus, p. p. of prosequi to follow, pursue. See Pursue.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Prosecute

    pros′ē-kūt, v.t. to follow onwards or pursue, in order to reach or accomplish: to continue: to pursue by law: to bring before a court.—v.i. to carry on a legal prosecution.—ns. Prosecū′tion, the act of prosecuting or pursuing, esp. a civil or criminal suit: the party by which legal proceedings are instituted; Pros′ecūtor, one who prosecutes or pursues any plan or business: one who carries on a civil or criminal suit:—fem. Pros′ecūtrix.—Public prosecutor, a person whose duty it is to conduct prosecutions in the public interest. [L. prosequipro, onwards, sequi, secutus, to follow.]

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. prosecute

    To carry on; to continue; as, to prosecute the war. Also, to accuse of some crime or breach of law, or to pursue for punishment before a legal tribunal; to proceed against judicially.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'prosecute' in Verbs Frequency: #1065

How to pronounce prosecute?

How to say prosecute in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of prosecute in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of prosecute in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of prosecute in a Sentence

  1. Attorney Tim Jansen:

    In order to prosecute a case, you have to have credible evidence, either tangible witnesses, and in this case, there was no credible evidence of any wrongdoing, joel Greenberg was somebody who (you) couldn’t put on the witness stand, as a prosecutor. I believe these women; none of them believed they were victims of any crime.

  2. Trey Harrell:

    This would be the type of case the U.S. Attorney’s Office would be interested in, and I can speak to that because in my time there – it was brief – the office would charge, prosecute and sentence these types of cases and public corruption was then and is now still a big push for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina, if the need is there for a federal investigation, this certainly is something they would investigate and work all the way through the system to get the results that were necessary.

  3. District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett:

    We are aware that there are possible additional fires here in Shasta County that she may be linked to as well as other charges in other fires, statewide, my office will not hesitate to prosecute( any) person who either intentionally or recklessly starts a fire.

  4. Kana Sasakura:

    There will be a public uproar if the prosecutors decide not to prosecute Carlos Ghosn.

  5. Rachel Barkow:

    A prosecutor really does have a lot of discretion to decide their priorities and cases, but they could get voted out of office, or states could give the authority to prosecute to someone else.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for prosecute

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"prosecute." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 6 Jun 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/prosecute>.

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    emerged from an egg
    • A. busy
    • B. hatched
    • C. aligned
    • D. sought

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