Per·se·cute v. t. [imp. & p. p. Persecuted p. pr. & vb. n. Persecuting.]
1. To pursue in a manner to injure, grieve, or afflict; to beset with cruelty or malignity; to harass; especially, to afflict, harass, punish, or put to death, for adherence to a particular religious creed or mode of worship.
Do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. --Matt. v. 44.
2. To harass with importunity; to pursue with persistent solicitations; to annoy.
Syn: -- To oppress; harass; distress; worry; annoy.