adjective, pettier, pettiest.
of little or no importance or consequence: petty grievances.
of lesser or secondary importance, merit, etc.; minor: petty considerations.
having or showing narrow ideas, interests, etc.: petty minds.
mean or ungenerous in small or trifling things: a petty person.
showing or caused by meanness of spirit: a petty revenge.
of secondary rank, especially in relation to others of the same class or kind: petty states; a petty tyrant.

1325–75; Middle English peti(t) small, minor < Old French petit < Gallo-Romance *pittīttus, of expressive orig.

pettily, adverb
pettiness, noun

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.

1. important. 4. generous. Unabridged


Richard, born 1937, U.S. racing-car driver.
William, 2nd Earl of Shelburne, 1st Marquis of Lansdowne, Lansdowne, 1st Marquis of. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
petty (ˈpɛtɪ)
adj , -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
[C14: from Old French petit]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1393, "small," from O.Fr. petit "small" (see petit). In Eng., not originally disparaging (cf. petty cash, 1834, petty officer, 1577). Meaning "of small importance" is recorded from 1523; that of "small-minded" is from 1581. An old name for "Northern Lights" was petty dancers.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences for petty
On the issue of raising taxes, petty was a definite proponent of consumption taxes.
Also it give deepwater diving and mine diving lessons to officers and petty officers.
In some later version, the nurse is burnt at the stake, the punishment for petty treason.
As a youth, he became a petty criminal and a member of street gangs in his home town.
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