Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An officer in the British Colleges of Heralds who ranks below a herald.
  • n. A follower or attendant.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. follower
  • n. a herald of the College of Arms
  • n. a Grand Lodge Officer who guards the inner door during a meeting of the Grand Lodge

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A functionary of lower rank than a herald, but discharging similar duties; -- called also pursuivant at arms; an attendant of the heralds. Also used figuratively.
  • n. The king's messenger; a state messenger.
  • transitive v. To pursue.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To pursue; follow after; chase.
  • n. A follower, attendant, or messenger; especially, one who attended the king in his wars.
  • n. A state messenger; an officer who executes warrants.
  • n. One of the third and lowest order of heraldic officers.

Etymologies

Middle English pursevant, attendant, from Old French poursuivant, from present participle of poursuivre, to follow, from Vulgar Latin *prōsequere; see pursue.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English, from Old French pursuivant, present participle of pursuivre (‘to follow’). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • And once a royal messenger (called a pursuivant-at-arms) came down in person, and carried the great lady to London, and there she stayed many days, and was threatened with many things and great punishments, yea, even to be tried by the Lord Jeffreys for high treason, in resisting the king's order to deliver up her grandchild to its natural guardian -- which was its father, the Viscount Mallerden, now created by royal favour

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 55, No. 344, June, 1844

  • It's a mushroom cloud field with a velociraptor/"Gray" alien hybrid pursuivant.

    amuchmoreexotic: Is this the most evil food mascot ever created?

  • Yet she also employed the services of her own pursuivant and torturer of Catholic priests, Richard Topcliffe.

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • This hapless dissyllable my uncle carried in person to the herald office in Scotland; but neither Lyon, nor Marchmont, nor Islay, nor Snadoun, neither herald nor pursuivant, would patronise Scrogie. —

    Saint Ronan's Well

  • In the mean time, a royal pursuivant was despatched to the

    The Fair Maid of Perth

  • The Duke having given a ready assent, the pursuivant was dismissed accordingly, and returned in a few hours, so near had the armies approached to each other.

    Anne of Geierstein

  • The pursuivant made himself known to some of the household, and the Englishmen were immediately received with courtesy, though not such as to draw attention upon them, and conveyed to a neighboring tent, the residence of a general officer, which they were given to understand was destined for their accommodation, and where their packages accordingly were deposited, and refreshments offered them.

    Anne of Geierstein

  • “Spare your threats,” said Murray; “it may be, my purpose with Sir Piercie Shafton is not such as thou dost suppose — Attach him, pursuivant, as our prisoner, rescue or no rescue.”

    The Monastery

  • For when his brother, Zau al-Makan, saw that accursed one push out on the plain, and heard the pursuivant, he turned to Sharrkan and said to him, “Of a surety they seek for thee.”

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • The troop consisted of six persons; for, besides Wayland, they had in company a royal pursuivant and two stout serving-men.

    Kenilworth

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