from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An animal kept for enjoyment or companionship.
  • noun An object of the affections.
  • noun A person especially loved or indulged; a favorite.
  • adjective Kept as a pet.
  • adjective Particularly cherished or indulged.
  • adjective Expressing or showing affection.
  • adjective Being a favorite.
  • intransitive verb To stroke or caress gently. synonym: caress.
  • intransitive verb To stroke or fondle amorously.
  • noun A fit of bad temper or pique.
  • intransitive verb To be sulky and peevish.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Any domesticated or tamed animal, as a dog, a squirrel, or a dove, that is fondled and indulged; in particular, a lamb brought up by hand; a cadelamb; in general, a fondling.
  • noun A darling or favorite child; one who is fondled and indulged or treated with peculiar kindness or favor; also, a spoiled child; a wilful young woman.
  • Fondled and indulged: as, a pet lamb; a pet rabbit; a pet pigeon.
  • Favored; favorite; cherished: as, a pet theory.
  • noun A fit, as of peevishness, ill humor, or discontent.
  • To treat as a pet; fondle; indulge: as, to pet a child or a kitten.
  • To be peevish or cross; sulk.
  • To make peevish; pique; offend; make cross.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To treat as a pet; to fondle; to indulge.
  • intransitive verb To be a pet.
  • adjective Petted; indulged; admired; cherished
  • adjective (Mach.) A little faucet in a water pipe or pump, to let air out, or at the end of a steam cylinder, to drain it.
  • noun A cade lamb; a lamb brought up by hand.
  • noun Any person especially cherished and indulged; a fondling; a darling; often, a favorite child.
  • noun A slight fit of peevishness or fretfulness.
  • noun Any animal kept as a companion, usually in or around one's home, typically domesticated and cared for attentively and often affectionately. Distinguished from animals raised for food or to perform useful tasks, as a draft animal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An animal kept as a companion.
  • noun One who is excessively loyal to their superior.
  • verb transitive To stroke or fondle (an animal).
  • verb transitive, informal To stroke or fondle (another person) amorously.
  • verb intransitive, informal Of two or more people, to stroke and fondle one another amorously.
  • verb archaic, intransitive To be a pet.
  • noun A fit of petulance, a sulk, arising from the impression that one has been offended or slighted.
  • noun Geordie A term of endearment usually applied to women and children.
  • noun Abbreviation of petition.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a domesticated animal kept for companionship or amusement
  • verb stroke or caress in an erotic manner, as during lovemaking
  • noun a special loved one
  • noun using a computerized radiographic technique to examine the metabolic activity in various tissues (especially in the brain)
  • adjective preferred above all others and treated with partiality
  • verb stroke or caress gently
  • noun a fit of petulance or sulkiness (especially at what is felt to be a slight)


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

[Scottish Gaelic peata, tame animal, pet, from Old Irish.]

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

[Origin unknown.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Originally from Northern English and Scots dialects, origin is unsure but may have arisen due to influence of petty pertaining to children and later companion animals. Almost certainly of Germanic etymology.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin unknown.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Diminutive of petal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Abbreviation of petition.


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  • If your pet is a cat, substitute gatito for perrito.

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  • BLITZER: What do you say to the president who spoke about what he called your pet spending projects -- money that has nothing to do with the war in Iraq or Afghanistan, but for fishermen, peanut storage, spinach farmers, the milk industry -- that you've attached all this -- this other funding into this legislation, which has nothing do with the emergency spending needed for the war?

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  • Johnson has fought to eliminate stockpiles of pet coke, a byproduct of oil refining, that were stored at the nearby port and sending clouds of toxic black dust into her neighborhood.

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  • Thus was Donna Helena snatched from me. She threw herself into the arms of Combados in a pet, not listening to the secret whispers of love within her breast, nor suspecting a story which ought to have seemed so improbable in the annals of true passion.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 9 ch. 6

    October 8, 2008