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[pet-ish] /ˈpɛt ɪʃ/
petulantly peevish:
a pettish refusal.
Origin of pettish
1585-95; see pet2, -ish1
Related forms
pettishly, adverb
pettishness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pettish
Historical Examples
  • The pettish wind flung handfuls of grit into their eyes and nostrils.

    Shadows of Flames Amelie Rives
  • Mr. Haydon affected not to see the pettish act, but turned to his companion.

    That Girl Montana Marah Ellis Ryan
  • The doctor turned away to his desk with the pettish gesture of a woman whose inner thoughts are not divined.

    The Squirrel-Cage Dorothy Canfield
  • Polly laughed, and did the same, feeling sorry she had been so pettish.

    Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag VI Louisa M. Alcott
  • But you are so hard to please and so pettish, I am seven times tired of yourself and your ways.

    Three Wonder Plays Lady I. A. Gregory
  • Frank thrust out one hand and gave the animal a pettish push.

    Old Mr. Wiley Fanny Greye La Spina
  • With a pettish movement she pulled down her veil yet further over her face.

    Jane Oglander Marie Belloc Lowndes
  • She threw it down upon the table with a pettish gesture that was wholly feminine.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • Mr. Edmonstone was fidgety and ill at ease, found fault with the dinner, and was pettish with his wife.

    The Heir of Redclyffe Charlotte M. Yonge
  • Ephraim was always gentle, even when I was pettish and cross.

British Dictionary definitions for pettish


peevish; petulant: a pettish child
Derived Forms
pettishly, adverb
pettishness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from pet²
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
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Word Origin and History for pettish

1550s, "impetuous," evidently from pet (n.2) in its "ill humor" sense + -ish. Meaning "peevish, easily annoyed" is from 1590s.

It has naturally been assoc. with PET sb.1, as being a characteristic habit of a "pet" or indulged and spoiled child; but the connexion of sense is not very clear or simple .... [OED]
Related: Pettishly; pettishness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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