Pursue vs Arrest - What's the difference?

pursue | arrest |

As a verb pursue

is (obsolete|transitive) to follow with harmful intent; to try to harm, to persecute, torment.

As a noun arrest is

arrest, confinement, detention.




  • (obsolete) To follow with harmful intent; to try to harm, to persecute, torment.
  • To follow urgently, originally with intent to capture or harm; to chase.
  • * Wyclif Bible, John xv. 20
  • The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have pursued' me, they shall ' pursue you also.
  • * 2009 , Martin Chulov, ‘Iraqi shoe-thrower claims he suffered torture in jail’, The Guardian , 15 Sep 09:
  • He now feared for his life, and believed US intelligence agents would pursue him.
  • To follow, travel down (a particular way, course of action etc.).
  • Her rival pursued a quite different course.
  • To aim for, go after (a specified objective, situation etc.).
  • * 2009 , Benjamin Pogrund, ‘Freeze won't hurt Netanyahu’, The Guardian , 1 Dec 09:
  • He even stands to gain in world terms: his noisy critics strengthen his projected image of a man determined to pursue peace with Palestinians.
  • To participate in (an activity, business etc.); to practise, follow (a profession).
  • See also

    * follow * chase




    (en noun)
  • A check, stop, an act or instance of something.
  • The condition of being stopped, standstill.
  • (legal) The act of arresting a criminal, suspect etc.
  • A confinement, detention, as after an arrest.
  • A device to physically arrest motion.
  • (nautical) The judicial detention of a ship to secure a financial claim against its operators.
  • (obsolete) Any seizure by power, physical or otherwise.
  • * Jeremy Taylor
  • The sad stories of fire from heaven, the burning of his sheep, etc., were sad arrests to his troubled spirit.
  • (farriery) A scurfiness of the back part of the hind leg of a horse.
  • (White)

    Derived terms

    * arrest warrant * cardiac arrest * house arrest


    (en verb)
  • (obsolete) To stop the motion of (a person or animal).
  • * Philips
  • Nor could her virtues the relentless hand / Of Death arrest .
  • (obsolete) To stay, remain.
  • (Spenser)
  • To stop (a process, course etc.).
  • * 1994 , Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom , Abacus 2010, p. 707:
  • To try to arrest the spiral of violence, I contacted Chief Buthelezi to arrange a meeting.
  • * 1997 : Chris Horrocks, Introducing Foucault , page 69 (Totem Books, Icon Books; ISBN 1840460865)
  • Knowledge replaced universal resemblance with finite differences. History was arrested and turned into tables …Western reason had entered the age of judgement.
  • To seize (someone) with the authority of the law; to take into legal custody.
  • The police have arrested a suspect in the murder inquiry.
  • * Shakespeare
  • I arrest thee of high treason.
  • To catch the attention of.
  • * 1919 : :
  • There is something about this picture—something bold and vigorous, which arrests the attention. I feel sure it would be highly popular.

    Derived terms

    * arrester, arrestor * arrestment * arresting


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