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English definition of “persecute”

persecute

verb [T]     /ˈpɜː.sɪ.kjuːt/ US  /ˈpɝː-/
to treat someone unfairly or cruelly over a long period of time because of their race, religion, or political beliefs, or to annoy someone by refusing to leave them alone: Religious minorities were persecuted and massacred during the ten-year regime. His latest film is about the experience of being persecuted for being gay. Ever since the news broke about her divorce, she has been persecuted by the tabloid press.Treating people or animals badlyInsults and abuseUnkind, cruel and unfeelingViolent or aggressive
(Definition of persecute verb from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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