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My brother is a drug addict. He steals money, breaks things at home. He has been persecuting our family for a long time with his behavior making out lives miserable.

Is this the correct use of persecute?

Comments  
anonymousIs this the correct use of "persecute"?

No. To persecute is more like to oppress. It is a deliberate act for its own sake, to punish, but your brother's activities are for his own purposes, and any damage to the family is incidental to that. The figurative use is too light for the context. Perhaps "tormenting" or "ravaging" or "bedeviling".

anonymous
anonymousIs this the correct use of "persecute"?

No. To persecute is more like to oppress. It is a deliberate act for its own sake, to punish, but your brother's activities are for his own purposes, and any damage to the family is incidental to that. The figurative use is too light for the context. Perhaps "tormenting" or "ravaging" or "bedeviling".

What if we want to say, he is behaving that on purpose?

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anonymousWhat if we want to say, he is behaving that on purpose?

A drug addict has bigger fish to fry. I can't imagine one bending his efforts toward anything but getting more drugs, and that is all we have to go on here. "Persecute" is the wrong word for what he does as a drug addict. He might persecute you aside from that, but that is not in evidence. Look up "persecute" in several dictionaries and try to grasp the meaning. It is the wrong word here.