Definition of persecute in English:

persecute

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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Morality demands that the will of the majority should not prevail where a minority is persecuted purely because of religion or race.’
    • ‘For hundreds of years, the Jews have been persecuted in many countries.’
    • ‘The Jews - among other minorities - were persecuted by the Nazis.’
    • ‘One of these is that millions of people around the world die or are severely persecuted for their beliefs.’
    • ‘Both of them were persecuted relentlessly for their beliefs.’
    • ‘Asylum will be given to people who are persecuted for their beliefs.’
    • ‘When persecuted by the government, they have fled to the central highlands from the north.’
    • ‘He was martyred after refusing to persecute Christians and became a patron saint of soldiers.’
    • ‘Besides, almost all of them are already old and they're the last people persecuted for political reasons.’
    • ‘He believes himself unjustly persecuted and discriminated against.’
    • ‘The cultists feel that they are being persecuted unfairly.’
    • ‘Many have been harassed or persecuted in their own countries for political or religious reasons.’
    • ‘During Bulgaria's communist period, his followers were persecuted by the authorities.’
    • ‘The Huguenots were French Protestants who had been persecuted for their faith.’
    • ‘The bond was strengthened because individuals persecuted by the authorities could seek succor and solace from the Church.’
    • ‘Are they being persecuted on the grounds of race?’
    oppress, abuse, victimize, ill-treat, mistreat, maltreat, discriminate against, punish, inflict pain on, inflict suffering on, tyrannize, afflict, torment, torture, martyr
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Harass or annoy (someone) persistently.
      ‘Hilda was persecuted by some of the other girls’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Lone parents, disabled people and the long term unemployed are harried and persecuted.’
      • ‘The persecuted, bullied and misunderstood see a kindred spirit.’
      • ‘They were looked down upon but generally not actively persecuted.’
      • ‘The most common symptom of paranoia is the belief that someone or something is persecuting you.’
      • ‘Local authorities should concentrate on providing services to the public not persecuting honest shopkeepers.’
      • ‘We are not in the business of persecuting our members because the state considers someone guilty.’
      • ‘It's just a pathetic mind game played by town planners who get their kicks by persecuting motorists.’
      • ‘Isn't it disgraceful the way they're persecuting the poor guy?’
      • ‘I hope that you and the people will reserve judgment on me until the newspaper is done persecuting me.’
      • ‘Persecuting the poor guy isn't going to make him feel very good either.’
      • ‘I have the greatest admiration for the man and there is no question of persecuting him.’
      • ‘Totalitarian governments love these kind of laws that make everyone a potential criminal, so that authorities can legally justify persecuting anyone they don't like.’
      • ‘We are not out for prosecution or persecuting people, we just want people to see reason we want them to adhere to the speed limit.’
      • ‘The moral is: persecuting farmers is not the way to have lower food prices, nor is it the way to make farm income lower than other forms of income.’
      • ‘In July, he confronted her about the investigation, accusing her of persecuting him, and demanding to know how she had any right to continue the investigation.’
      harass, hound, plague, badger, harry, bait, intimidate, pick on, trouble, molest, tease, pester, bother, worry, annoy, bedevil, bully, victimize, terrorize
      View synonyms

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’.

Pronunciation

persecute

/ˈpəːsɪkjuːt/