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Equivalent to prosecute +‎ -ion, from Middle French prosecution,[1] from Late Latin prōsecutio, from Latin prōsequor (follow, pursue), from pro- (onward) + sequor (follow) (English sequel). Compare persecution, and see more at prosecute.


  • IPA(key): /ˌpɹɑ.səˈkju.ʃən/
  • (file)


prosecution (countable and uncountable, plural prosecutions)

  1. The act of prosecuting a scheme or endeavor.
    The prosecution of the war fell to Winston Churchill.
  2. (law) The institution of legal proceedings (particularly criminal) against a person.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, “Prologue: Who is Edmund Gray?”, in The Ivory Gate [], New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], OCLC 16832619:
      Such a scandal as the prosecution of a brother for forgery—with a verdict of guilty—is a most truly horrible, deplorable, fatal thing. It takes the respectability out of a family perhaps at a critical moment, when the family is just assuming the robes of respectability: [] it is a black spot which all the soaps ever advertised could never wash off.
  3. (law) The prosecuting party.
    • 2012 August 21, Pilkington, Ed, “Death penalty on trial: should Reggie Clemons live or die?”, in The Guardian:
      The prosecution case was that the men forced the sisters to strip, threw their clothes over the bridge, then raped them and participated in forcing them to jump into the river to their deaths. As he walked off the bridge, Clemons was alleged to have said: "We threw them off. Let's go."

Related terms[edit]



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