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The word pursue and its family (pursued, pursues, pursuing, pursuit, pursuits) are included in the Academic Word List by Dr. Averil Coxhead, which contains the 570 most frequent word families used in academic texts from a variety of subject areas, of interest for students that learn the words most needed to study at tertiary institutions.

Video footage: CIRCA 1920s Police pursue a man who has broken out of jail, and pieces from a car fall off as it is driven.
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Definition of the verb pursue

What does pursue mean as a doing word?

Pursue is one of the top 1000 most common verbs in the English language.

verb - inflections: pursued | pursuing | pursues

  1. carry out or participate in an activity; be involved in
    • example: She pursued many activities
    • lexical domain: Activities - verbs of political and social activities and events
    • synonyms of pursue: engage / prosecute
    • more generic words: act / move = perform an action, or work out or perform
    • more specific words:
  2. follow in or as if in pursuit
    • examples: The police car pursued the suspected attacker | They pursue the car down the avenue
    • syntax:
      Syntactic formulaExample for the syntactic formula
      [Agent - being] [Verb] [Theme]Jackie accompanied Rose | Jackie chased the thief
      [Agent - being] [Verb] [Theme] [Spatial Preposition] [Location]Jackie chased the thief down the street
      [Agent - being] [Verb] after [Theme]Jackie chased after the thief

      Verbs of Motion (with the same syntax): chase, follow, shadow, tail, track, trail.

    • lexical domain: Motions - verbs of walking, flying, swimming
    • synonym of pursue: follow
    • more generic words: go / locomote / move / travel = change location
    • more specific terms:
  3. go in search of or hunt for
  4. carry further or advance

Alternative definition of the verb pursue


  1. [obsolete, transitive] To follow with harmful intent; to try to harm, to persecute, torment. [definition from 14th c.]
  2. [transitive] To follow urgently, originally with intent to capture or harm; to chase. [definition from 14th c.]
  3. [transitive] To follow, travel down (a particular way, course of action etc.). [definition from late 14th c.]
  4. [transitive] To aim for, go after (a specified objective, situation etc.). [definition from late 14th c.]
  5. [transitive] To participate in (an activity, business etc.); to practise, follow (a profession). [definition from 15th c.]


"Pursue" is a book by Nhan Hien Trinh.

Phrases with Pursue

  1. to pursue
  2. don't ask, don't tell, don't harass, don't pursue

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for Pursue

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewDental Ethics at Chairside (2002)

Professional Principles and Practical Applications, Second Edition by David T. Ozar, David J. Sokol

Sullivan to pursue is the idea that Ms.

Google previewCriminal Law (2011)

by Jonathan Herring

should seek to pursue is the protection of sexual choice, that is to say the protection of a woman's right to choice whether, when and with whom to have sexual intercourse';. Whether ...

Google previewDemystifying Dissertation Writing (2011)

A Streamlined Process from Choice of Topic to Final Text by Peg Boyle Single

The only thing to pursue is a longterm project. Too often during this time students experience isolation. This is especially true for students who are working on a selfidentified project, not a project in line with the adviser's program of research.

Google previewDeconstructing Psychopathology (1995)

by Ian Parker, Eugenie Georgaca, David Harper, Terence McLaughlin, Mark Stowell-Smith

The argument we will pursue is that psychiatric research does not simply describe and classify characteristics of groups of individuals, but that it actively constructs a version of both normal and abnormal speech, which is then applied to ...

Google previewRecent Advances in Animal Nutrition 2008 (2009)

by P. C. Garnsworthy, J. Wiseman

One possible avenue to pursue is the application of dietary ingredients to manipulate the gut microbiota , ...

Google previewGirlz Rock (2009)

90-Day Devotional by Kristi Holl

Pursue is a strong word, meaning “to search, hunt for, or go after.” Sometimes it takes hard work to live in peace with people, but we are commanded to make every effort to do so. In Megan's history class, each student was to choose a person ...

Google previewCrossword Puzzle Dictionary (2015)

by Murali Mohan Hundigam

Purposefully—resolutely Purposeless—aimless, meaningless, pointless Purposeless task or way of life—squirrel cage Purposely—deliberately Purse— pouch Purse for notes—wallet Purse with kilt—sporran Pursue—chase, follow up, run ...

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Pursue

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Usage statistics about pursue

The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English from the later part of the 20th century, both spoken and written.

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the verb pursue:


Photos about Pursue

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Small photo of Father and son pursue adventure More...

Video about Pursue

Pursue Meaning

Video shows what pursue means. To follow with harmful intent; to try to harm, to persecute, torment.. To follow urgently, originally with intent to capture or harm; ...

View more videos about To Pursue.

See also the pronunciation examples of Pursue!

Quotes about Pursue

We will pursue every factor, every element, every second of the timeline, of the final hours of Maurice's life. We will pursue that relentlessly. That will be our quest from now on. (Robin Gibb)
more quotes about pursue...

Scrabble value of P3U1R1S1U1E1

The value of this 6-letter word is 8 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Anagrams of PURSUE

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See also the blanagrams of Pursue!

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