Per"se*cute (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Persecuted (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Persecuting.] [F. pers'ecueter, L. persequi, persecutus, to pursue, prosecute; per + sequi to follow, pursue. See Per-, and Second.]
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.
Do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
Matt. v. 44.
To harass with importunity; to pursue with persistent solicitations; to annoy.
Syn. -- To oppress; harass; distress; worry; annoy.
© Webster 1913.