American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Querulous or discontented.
- adj. Ill-tempered.
- adj. Contrary; fractious.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Querulous; petulant; ill-tempered; cross; fitful.
- Perverse; self-willed; forward; testy.
- Characterized by or indicating discontent, petulancy, or fretfulness.
- Childish; silly; foolish; trifling.
- Synonyms Fretful, Pettish, etc. (see petulant), ill-natured, testy, irritable, waspish.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Habitually fretful; easily vexed or fretted; hard to please; apt to complain; querulous; petulant.
- adj. Expressing fretfulness and discontent, or unjustifiable dissatisfaction.
- adj. obsolete Silly; childish; trifling.
- adj. easily irritated or annoyed
- Late 14th century peyvesshe "capricious, silly", perhaps a corruption of Latin perversus "perverted". The meaning "fretful" develops in the 16th century. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English pevish, possibly from Latin perversus, past participle of perversus; see perverse. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“It even has its own pair of Watchmen-style deconstructed superheroes: Mermaid Man, shuffling in peevish slippers toward senility, and his long-suffering sidekick, Barnacle Boy.”
“The word peevish would pretty well describe the condition of Mrs. Alstine, who had a chronic ailment that prevented her enjoying the hospitality of friends.”
“His face was insignificant, his expression peevish, his features without the animation of any high purpose.”
“There is more poignant music in the Primavera, in the weary, indifferent countenances of his lean, neuropathic Madonnas -- Pater calls them "peevish" -- in his Venus of the”
“This question -- which Hohenfels called peevish as he buried himself in his book -- was not answered until we had passed Verviers, Chaudfontaine and Liège.”
“She is so pale, and so fretful, so peevish, which is not in her nature.”
“Obama held his own and I didn't find him at all "peevish".”
“I defy you to point to a single phrase in that speach that was "peevish" or "entitled.”
“Now I was feeling kind of peevish, my poor old eye felt sad and sore”
“Resignation sinks into a kind of peevish discontent.”
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