Definition of pursue in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Follow (someone or something) in order to catch or attack them.

    ‘the officer pursued the van’
    figurative ‘a heavily indebted businessman was being pursued by creditors’
    • ‘Officers pursued three youths for three hours on Wednesday morning after an attempted break-in at a house in Ellenbrook Road.’
    • ‘An officer of the Police Department pursued the suspect but the latter escaped in an unidentified white van.’
    • ‘The officers pursued them on foot for a short distance until Mantzios, hiding in a ravine just off Westmount Road, blew his cover and surrendered when the officer approached him.’
    • ‘Police officers pursuing the car stopped to help their victim, but despite the fact that he was no longer being pursued, the Peugeot driver went on to hit a second student.’
    • ‘A second set of runners then had to follow and pursue this trail.’
    • ‘Inevitably, romance blossoms between them as they are hotly pursued by the Imperial Army and Jin's comrade, Leo.’
    • ‘Chinese police pursued the car, and in the ensuing chase the suspects' automobile collided with a traffic island, killing one occupant and seriously injuring the other.’
    • ‘Twenty people were injured, including the two paramilitary border policemen pursuing the bomber, who were only yards away.’
    • ‘Police caught Leroy, aged 21, and his pillion passenger after pursuing them through the streets of West Wickham and Lewisham.’
    • ‘In short order, the sergeant himself has fled, hotly pursuing his subject, his honor at stake.’
    • ‘The Alliance troops gave chase, shooting them as they ran through the streets and pursuing them into nearby houses.’
    • ‘She then ran out of council chambers pursued by several police officers as the crowd chanted, ‘Arrest the mayor!’’
    • ‘The vehicle turned west on 102 Ave. and officers pursued it and pulled it over near 114 St. Nowicki was driving the vehicle and appeared slow and confused.’
    • ‘Students ran back to their dormitories but they were pursued by the officers.’
    • ‘Once backup arrived, roughly thirty seconds later, both officers Romero and Johnson pursued the suspect, who had fled out the rear door of the establishment.’
    • ‘The car then headed back towards the University of York and when it failed to stop, the officers pursued them ‘at speed’.’
    • ‘He was arrested in the Roxy area by other police officers who pursued the bus on motorcycles.’
    • ‘In the men's international race, held in the early afternoon, the South Africans hotly pursued the Thais, but could not take the lead, coming in almost four seconds behind.’
    • ‘Graham Jenkins turned a gun on himself after officers pursued his car southbound on the M1 and eventually managed to stop it near Nottingham.’
    • ‘The most celebrated story of all, however, was one well-attested case of a monkey hotly pursuing an elderly policeman named Sub Inspector Bhola Ram.’
    go after, run after, follow, chase, give chase to
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    1. 1.1 Seek to form a sexual relationship with (someone) in a persistent way.
      ‘Sophie was being pursued by a number of men’
      • ‘Since Anna seems to do better and be stronger emotionally when she is pursued or already in a relationship, I sincerely hope that she meets someone soon.’
      • ‘Women will often pursue short-term sexual relationships, most typically as a means to secure material or other resources for themselves or their children.’
      • ‘I do not think this is the case, because before I pursued him, he had no other past relationships.’
      • ‘It does seem to be that, despite the many successes of feminism, the last area to undergo change is our sense of who pursues and who is pursued in a relationship.’
      • ‘A stalker who tried to pursue a Lady Chatterley-style relationship with an Earl's daughter has been given a suspended jail sentence for flouting a court order to leave her alone.’
      • ‘For many parents, no situation is more troubling than knowing a child is continuing to pursue a sexual relationship even after the parent has forbidden it.’
      • ‘The War Zone is a brutal portrait of a family in denial, a family whose father figure is also pursuing a sexual relationship with his teenage daughter.’
      • ‘He has become an itinerant preacher, but his temporary religious conversion does not prevent him from persistently pursuing her.’
      • ‘Like Haynes, Fassbinder was a cinephile who used Hollywood's tropes to pursue his own sexual and political agendas.’
      • ‘Tom is instantly smitten and pursues her with gentle persistence that borders on obsessive, finally winning her over and, in the fullness of a few days, popping the big question.’
      • ‘Keaton looks fantastic, to the extent that when Keanu Reeves's charming doctor persistently pursues her, we're not in the least surprised.’
      • ‘Both Casim and Roisin have broken with any sort of religious orthodoxy and are merely seeking to pursue their relationship and lives unhindered by family and social pressures.’
      woo, court, pay court to, pay suit to, chase after, chase, run after
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    2. 1.2 Seek to attain or accomplish (a goal) over a long period.
      ‘should people pursue their own happiness at the expense of others?’
      • ‘Last spring, Alexis O'Hara brought her third year of organizing the Montreal Slam to a halt in order to pursue her own artistic goals.’
      • ‘But we must pursue and accomplish our goals of building Inuktitut resources and curriculum.’
      • ‘This step requires a delicate balance between the patient's right to informed consent and the goal of pursuing the most appropriate therapy.’
      • ‘The core of feminism is about choice, and the right to pursue one's life goals, whatever those are.’
      • ‘At the end, it was clear that Bessy had succeeded in infusing her passion for dance into the hearts and bodies of her students, and is now ready to pursue her latest goal: freedom.’
      • ‘Instead, by letting themselves always yet never fully imitated by the cyborg, the human now pursues a more ambitious goal of taking the place of ‘Being.’’
      strive for, push towards, work towards, try for, seek, search for, quest, quest after, be intent on, aim at, aim for, have as a goal, have as an objective, aspire to
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    3. 1.3literary, archaic (of something unpleasant) persistently afflict (someone)
      ‘mercy lasts as long as sin pursues man’
      trouble, bother, burden, distress, cause trouble to, cause suffering to, beset, harass, worry, oppress, annoy, vex, irritate, exasperate, strain, stress, tax
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  • 2(of a person or way) continue or proceed along (a path or route)

    ‘the road pursued a straight course over the scrubland’
    • ‘I realised that I did not have to continue working as a joiner anymore and could pursue my path as a yoga teacher.’
    • ‘But all actions have their consequences, and to pursue such a path requires a certain hardening of the heart.’
    • ‘Thus ended my career into the field of justice, and I had retired my spurs to pursue the more gentile path of gold prospecting.’
    • ‘However, I can see that eventually, if I continue to pursue my current path, I am going to have to make that decision.’
    • ‘When we looked at going out on our own with the investment from Oak Partners, it was clearly the right path to pursue to continue our rapid growth in our market.’
    • ‘In some cases, the knowledge necessary to pursue such a path proves too elusive for a student to follow, and we all lose a friend along the way.’
    • ‘He wanted secretly to pursue a more artistic path but his circumstances seemed to make that unattainable.’
    • ‘Many of the leading firms are already pursuing the ‘path to worldclass competitiveness.’’
    • ‘I have said that, and will continue pursuing this course.’
    • ‘Popper's career did not pursue any steady course through the 1920s.’
    • ‘It will also continue to be a massive handicap holding back the prolonged creative and experimental path required to be pursued by man to make the most of our new technologies.’
    • ‘Brown insists his doubters are wrong, and that he will pursue the path of continued reform.’
    • ‘The paper's second agenda is to examine why so many women choose to lend out their money and pursue a different entrepreneurial path than that envisioned by village bank planners.’
    • ‘Until her fairy godmother comes along, Tautou continues pursuing her destiny - which by all portents, should prove to be fabulous.’
    • ‘Elizabeth has taken a political route, whereas Cidalia has pursued an artistic path.’
    • ‘However, the Prime Minister's official spokesman insisted that Britain and the US were continuing to pursue the same course.’
    • ‘We will continue to pursue the diplomatic path.’
    • ‘Indeed, before invoking the aid of his own government, the citizen of X would generally be required under the relevant treaty to pursue such a path, to exhaust local remedies.’
    • ‘This suggests that diasporic Chinese communities can and may continue to pursue this multiple-identity path as their forebears.’
    • ‘Without the Student Loan Scheme, university students would continue to pursue the lofty academic courses whose demise is being so sorely lamented.’
    1. 2.1 Engage in (an activity or course of action)
      ‘Andrew was determined to pursue a computer career’
      ‘the council decided not to pursue an appeal’
      • ‘Cities must have true authority over land-use planning and the power to pursue progressive growth policies and manage density, form, and design.’
      • ‘Throughout his career, Kepes pursued his own art-making activities, producing a large body of photographic works and paintings.’
      • ‘He also demonstrated the limits of the government and the presidency to produce social change and to pursue an activist foreign policy.’
      • ‘It's one thing to examine the options, it is another to pursue a determined course of action to achieve a concrete result.’
      • ‘For many, deciding to pursue this course of study is as threatening as moving out of home.’
      • ‘For developing economies, much of the emphasis is on increasing assistance to those developing countries that pursue constructive growth policies.’
      • ‘This tendency will discourage any U.S. president from pursuing an activist foreign policy, because public support for it will be thin.’
      • ‘Not only is it supported by non-smokers, but a majority of smokers also approve of a measure which will prevent them from pursuing this traditionally convivial activity in pubs, clubs and restaurants.’
      • ‘It is incredible that the powers that be refused to engage with such a central character before pursuing their drastic course on the company's future.’
      • ‘Knowledge is what we need to pursue the second-most important activity in which our kind can engage - the creation of beauty.’
      • ‘Roosevelt pursued a more activist course in his second term.’
      • ‘I do not believe that the University can now be criticised for refusing to depart from policy by reinstating the Applicant to pursue a new course of research under a different supervisor.’
      • ‘He is now pursuing a degree course in computer programming in Castlebar College.’
      • ‘Both these singers did not take up film singing as a career and pursued music-related activities outside the industry.’
      • ‘At the present time the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation is a federal executive authority, which pursues State policy and engages in State administration in matters of defense.’
      • ‘The stalls put up by some catering institutes and agencies for higher education abroad came in handy for those who wanted to pursue special courses.’
      • ‘The exhibition, which opened on Monday, sought to provide an exposure to career opportunities available for girls pursuing diploma courses offered by polytechnics.’
      • ‘By the age of 10, girls were banished to their boudoirs, barred from venturing out or pursuing anything but domestic activities.’
      • ‘It was, of course, a mistake for him to pursue the Labour leadership.’
      • ‘The direction being pursued in public policy is unclear in these places.’
      engage in, be engaged in, be occupied in, participate in, take part in, work at, practise, follow, prosecute, conduct, ply, apply oneself to, go in for, take up
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    2. 2.2 Continue to investigate, explore, or discuss (a topic, idea, or argument)
      ‘we shall not pursue the matter any further’
      • ‘Back in Japan he devoted nearly all his time and energy in pursuing Socialist ideas.’
      • ‘Two national charities have benefited from a novel idea which was pursued by a Newport man as a fund-raiser in the Dublin City Marathon.’
      • ‘Several lines of inquiry have been pursued and the investigation is continuing.’
      • ‘All of the information collated here is part of a wider investigation currently being pursued by a number of media outlets.’
      • ‘Paul said investigators would pursue an ‘aggressive investigation’ to bring those responsible for the act to justice.’
      • ‘But she said the quantity is large enough that investigators are only pursuing one out of every three accusations.’
      • ‘It's good to take well paid jobs, because that gives you the time to pursue the less obvious ideas, and room to develop your own products.’
      • ‘He pointed out that with an open economy such a tax may reduce foreign investment in the taxing country and increase overseas investment, but he did not pursue this argument.’
      • ‘I now left the Huntsman's Lodge without pursuing this undoubtedly absurd idea, which would assuredly have proved correct had I developed it.’
      • ‘Researchers around the world continue to pursue the idea, however.’
      • ‘Birkeland continued to pursue his ideas, but over time the quality of his work declined.’
      • ‘And the correspondence is evidence that he was not alone in thinking along those lines, even if he did pursue the idea more single-mindedly than others did.’
      • ‘That's why it's so critically important that we continue to pursue the war against terrorism from a global standpoint.’
      • ‘The lines of the argument itself will be pursued in a day or so in Part II.’
      • ‘Such disclosure was pursuing a legitimate investigative purpose, but restrictions were placed on the authority's right to use the information to ensure that it was used only for the purposes specified.’
      • ‘But in many other respects I found it actually was a kind of an obstacle, and so I'd kind of given up the idea of pursuing a Buddhist monastic life in Europe.’
      • ‘It should not be pursued with the idea of earning.’
      • ‘I guess they're concerned whether an FBI agent will come out and pursue this so-called active investigation.’
      • ‘This is meant to encourage researchers to pursue their ideas more freely if the payoff is potentially significant.’
      • ‘So you think, even though they agreed today for this dignified statement, they still continue to pursue a concept of blaming the dead?’
      conduct, undertake, follow, carry on, devote oneself to, go on with, proceed with, go ahead with, carry on with, keep on with, continue with, continue, take further, prosecute, persist in, stick at, stick with
      investigate, research, enquire into, look into, examine, study, review, check, scrutinize, analyse, delve into, dig into, probe
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Middle English (originally in the sense ‘follow with enmity’): from Anglo-Norman French pursuer, from an alteration of Latin prosequi ‘prosecute’.