a formally drawn request, often bearing the names of a number of those making the request, that is addressed to a person or group of persons in authority or power, soliciting some favor, right, mercy, or other benefit:
a petition for clemency; a petition for the repeal of an unfair law.
a request made for something desired, especially a respectful or humble request, as to a superior or to one of those in authority; a supplication or prayer:
a petition for aid; a petition to God for courage and strength.
something that is sought by request or entreaty:
to receive one's full petition.
Law. an application for a court order or for some judicial action.
verb (used with object)
to beg for or request (something).
to address a formal petition to (a sovereign, a legislative body, etc.):
He received everything for which he had petitioned the king.
early 14c., "a supplication or prayer, especially to a deity," from O.Fr. peticiun (12c.), from L. petitionem (nom. petitio) "a request, solicitation," noun of action from petere "to require, seek, go forward," also "to rush at, attack," ult. from PIE base *pet-/*pte- "to rush, to fly" (cf. Skt. patram "wing, feather, leaf," patara- "flying, fleeting;" Hittite pittar "wing;" Gk. piptein "to fall," potamos "rushing water," pteryx "wing;" O.E. feðer "feather;" L. penna "feather, wing;" O.C.S. pero "feather;" O.Welsh eterin "bird"). Meaning "formal written request to a superior (earthly)" is attested from early 15c. The verb is c.1600, from the noun.