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

  • noun A solemn supplication or request, especially to a superior authority; an entreaty.
  • noun A formal written document requesting a right or benefit from a person or group in authority.
  • noun A formal written application seeking a court's intervention and action on a matter.
  • noun A pleading initiating a legal case in some civil courts.
  • noun Something requested or entreated.
  • intransitive verb To address a petition to.
  • intransitive verb To ask for by petition; request formally.
  • intransitive verb To make a request, especially formally.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To present a petition or make a request to; supplicate; entreat; specifically, to address a written or printed petition or supplication to, as to a sovereign, legislative body, or person in authority, for some favor or right.
  • To solicit; ask for; desire as a favor.
  • To intercede; make a humble request or entreaty; present a petition.
  • noun An entreaty, supplication, or prayer; a solemn or formal supplication, as one addressed to the Supreme Being, or to a superior in rank or power; also, a particular request or article among several in a prayer.
  • noun A formal written request or supplication; particularly, a written supplication from an inferior to a superior, or to a legislative or other body, soliciting some favor, right, grant, or mercy.
  • noun In law, a written application for an order of court, used
  • noun where a suit is already pending in respect to the subject of which some relief is sought that renders proper a more for mal application than a motion (as a petition for instructions to a receiver), or
  • noun where the subject is within the jurisdiction of the court with out the bringing of an action (as a petition for the writ, of habeas corpus, or for an adjudication in bankruptcy); also, the paper containing such a supplication, solicitation, or humble request.
  • noun A begging: only in the rare phrase ‘petition of a principle’ (begging the question), translating Latin petitio principii.
  • noun A declaration of the rights of the people addressed by Parliament in 1628 to King Charles 1., and his assent to it, which, though not in form a statute or ordinance, has been accepted as having the full force and effect of fundamental law. It recited, in substance, that subjects should not be taxed but by consent of Parliament; that commissions for raising money should not be issued contrary to law; that no free man should be imprisoned, disseized of his land, outlawed, or exiled but by the judgment of his peers or the law of the land; that no subject ought to be imprisoned without cause shown; that citizens should not be compelled to entertain soldiers against the law; and that commissions for the trial of offenders by martial law ought not to issue in time of peace.
  • noun under active
  • noun Synonyms Supplication, Suit, etc. (see prayer), solicitation, application, address.

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

  • intransitive verb To make a petition or solicitation.
  • transitive verb To make a prayer or request to; to ask from; to solicit; to entreat; especially, to make a formal written supplication, or application to, as to any branch of the government
  • noun A prayer; a supplication; an imploration; an entreaty; especially, a request of a solemn or formal kind; a prayer to the Supreme Being, or to a person of superior power, rank, or authority; also, a single clause in such a prayer.
  • noun A formal written request addressed to an official person, or to an organized body, having power to grant it; specifically (Law), a supplication to government, in either of its branches, for the granting of a particular grace or right; -- in distinction from a memorial, which calls certain facts to mind; also, the written document.
  • noun (Law) a petition to obtain possession or restitution of property, either real or personal, from the Crown, which suggests such a title as controverts the title of the Crown, grounded on facts disclosed in the petition itself.
  • noun (Eng. Hist.) the parliamentary declaration of the rights of the people, assented to by Charles I.

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

  • noun A formal, written request made to an official person or organized body, often containing many signatures.
  • noun A compilation of signatures built in order to exert moral authority in support of a specific cause.
  • noun law A formal written request for judicial action.
  • verb To make a request, commonly in written form.

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

  • noun a formal message requesting something that is submitted to an authority
  • verb write a petition for something to somebody; request formally and in writing
  • noun reverent petition to a deity


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

[Middle English peticion, from Old French petition, from Latin petītiō, petītiōn-, from petītus, past participle of petere, to request; see pet- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English, from Old French peticiun, from stem of Latin petitio ("a request, solicitation"), from petere ("to require, seek, go forward")


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  • I sign a lot of these on

    October 29, 2012

  • submitted a petition 提交了一份请愿书

    February 4, 2017