follow Dictionary.com

It’s about time. We are now on Instagram!

petty

[pet-ee] /ˈpɛt i/
adjective, pettier, pettiest.
1.
of little or no importance or consequence:
petty grievances.
2.
of lesser or secondary importance, merit, etc.; minor:
petty considerations.
3.
having or showing narrow ideas, interests, etc.:
petty minds.
4.
mean or ungenerous in small or trifling things:
a petty person.
5.
showing or caused by meanness of spirit:
a petty revenge.
6.
of secondary rank, especially in relation to others of the same class or kind:
petty states; a petty tyrant.
Origin
1325-1375
1325-75; Middle English peti(t) small, minor < Old French petit < Gallo-Romance *pittīttus, of expressive orig.
Related forms
pettily, adverb
pettiness, noun
Synonyms
1. nugatory, negligible, inconsiderable, slight. Petty, paltry, trifling, trivial apply to something that is so insignificant as to be almost unworthy of notice. Petty implies contemptible insignificance and littleness, inferiority and small worth: petty quarrels. Paltry is applied to something that is beneath one's notice, even despicable: a paltry amount. Something that is trifling is so unimportant and inconsiderable as to be practically negligible: a trifling error. Something that is trivial is slight, insignificant, and even in incongruous contrast to something that is significant or important: a trivial remark; a trivial task. 3. small. 4. stingy, miserly.
Antonyms
1. important. 4. generous.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for pettily

petty

/ˈpɛtɪ/
adjective -tier, -tiest
1.
trivial; trifling; inessential: petty details
2.
of a narrow-minded, mean, or small-natured disposition or character: petty spite
3.
minor or subordinate in rank: petty officialdom
4.
(law) of lesser importance
Derived Forms
pettily, adverb
pettiness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French petit
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for pettily

petty

adj.

late 14c., "small," from phonemic spelling of Old French petit "small" (see petit). In English, not originally disparaging (cf. petty cash, 1834; petty officer, 1570s). Meaning "of small importance" is recorded from 1520s; that of "small-minded" is from 1580s. Related: Pettily; pettiness. An old name for "Northern Lights" was petty dancers.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for petty

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for pettily

12
13
Scrabble Words With Friends