Definitions

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

  • adjective Of small importance; trivial: synonym: trivial.
  • adjective Narrow-minded or ungenerous, especially in trifling matters.
  • adjective Of lesser importance or rank; subordinate.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Small; little; trifling; trivial; inconsiderable or insignificant; of little account: as, petty payments; a petty quarrel.
  • Of minor importance or gravity; not heinous or serious: as, petty trespass; a petty crime.
  • Inferior as regards rank, power, capacity, possessions, etc.; not of great importance, standing, or rank: as, a petty prince; a petty proprietor.
  • noun A junior scholar in a grammar-school; a little child attending school.

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

  • adjective Little; trifling; inconsiderable; also, inferior; subordinate
  • adjective See under Average.
  • adjective money expended or received in small items or amounts.
  • adjective a subofficer in the navy, as a gunner, etc., corresponding to a noncommissionned officer in the army.

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

  • adjective Little, small, secondary in rank or importance.
  • adjective Insignificant, trifling, or inconsiderable.
  • adjective Narrow-minded, small-minded.

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

  • adjective inferior in rank or status
  • adjective (informal) small and of little importance
  • noun larceny of property having a value less than some amount (the amount varies by locale)
  • adjective contemptibly narrow in outlook

Etymologies

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

[Middle English peti, from Old French, variant of petit; see petit.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French petit, English since the late 14th century. The disparaging meaning develops during the 16th century.

Examples

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