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

  • adj. Ill-tempered; peevish.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. bad-tempered; peevish

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Fretful; peevish; moody; capricious; inclined to ill temper.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Proceeding from or pertaining to a pet or peevish humor; fretful; peevish; subject to freaks of ill temper.
  • Synonyms Peevish, Fretful, etc. See petulant.

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

  • adj. easily irritated or annoyed


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

Probably from pet2.


  • "Becoming George Sand" offers sketchy vignettes of Sand's excursion to Mallorca with the pettish and ailing composer Frédéric Chopin, but these scenes shed no light on Maria's problems, which are based not on passion but on lying.

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  • He thinks her little pettish ways are mere girlish moods; but when she becomes his wife, and reveals her selfish and cruel nature, he is grieved and hurt to think fate has been so unkind to him.

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  • She had known for some time her brother was weak, that what her aunt had called innocence was really spoiled pettish childishness; that being a boy, the firstborn, and beautiful, Nate had always been the prince of his own tiny kingdom.

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  • With success came pressure, and it appears Henry could be pettish, as his correspondence often apologizes for being short-tempered, possibly because he and Belasco were now going away to get most of their work done and Beatrice felt left out.

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  • Rachel found Katherine, pettish from imagined neglect.

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  • Raglan's face lengthened, and I saw an almost pettish set to his mouth as he said:

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  • And he emerged from his prison the same spoiled, pettish rich kid, having tantrums, dumping his non-glossy crippled wife, etc., etc.

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  • He was a spoiled, pettish rich kid who worked mightily to destroy millions of dollars worth of equipment in the years before he was captured.

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  • The Lady Fleming restricted her notice to the most dry and distant expressions of civility, and Catherine Seyton became bitter in her pleasantries, and shy, cross, and pettish, in any intercourse they had together.

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  • He failed in this point, however; for Roland, bred a page from childhood, knew how to assume a sullen pettish cast of countenance, well enough calculated to hide all internal emotions.

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  • "Ah! If we could only do what we wished!" her friend Mrs. Forman cries wistfully at one point in the story, thus giving voice … to the straitjacket morality that sentences poor Mr. Lucas to a rancorous and pettish dotage.

    – David Leavitt and Mark Mitchell, "Introduction", in E. M. Forster, Selected Stories, (New York: Penguin, 2001), xvii; discussing Forster's story "The Road from Colonus".

    February 3, 2011