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tr.v. per·se·cut·ed, per·se·cut·ing, per·se·cutes
1. To oppress or harass with ill-treatment, especially because of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or beliefs.
2. To annoy persistently; bother: persecuted the babysitter with foolish questions.
[Middle English, from Old French persecuter, back-formation from persecuteur, persecutor, from Late Latin persecūtor, from persecūtus, past participle of persequī, to persecute, from Latin, to pursue : per-, per- + sequī, to follow; see sekw- in Indo-European roots.]
per′se·cu·tee′ (-kyo͞o-tē′) n.
per′se·cu′tive, per′se·cu·to′ry (-kyo͝o-tôr′ē, -kyo͞o′tə-rē) adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
involving or characteristic of persecution
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014