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See also: persécution



Equivalent to persecute +‎ -ion. From Middle English persecucioun, from Old French persecucion [1], from Ecclesiastical Latin persecūtio (persecution; chase, pursuit), from Latin persequor (follow up, pursue), from per- (through) +‎ sequor (follow). Displaced native Old English ēhtnes.



persecution (countable and uncountable, plural persecutions)

  1. The act of persecuting.
  2. A program or campaign to subjugate or eliminate a specific group of people, often based on race, religion, sexuality, or social beliefs.
    • 2012 March-April, Jan Sapp, “Race Finished”, in American Scientist[1], volume 100, number 2, page 164:
      Few concepts are as emotionally charged as that of race. The word conjures up a mixture of associations—culture, ethnicity, genetics, subjugation, exclusion and persecution. But is the tragic history of efforts to define groups of people by race really a matter of the misuse of science, the abuse of a valid biological concept?



  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2022), “persecution”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.