9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[pech-uh-luh nt] /ˈpɛtʃ ə lənt/
moved to or showing sudden, impatient irritation, especially over some trifling annoyance:
a petulant toss of the head.
Origin of petulant
1590-1600; < Latin petulant- (stem of petulāns) impudent, akin to petere to seek, head for
Related forms
petulantly, adverb
unpetulant, adjective
unpetulantly, adverb
irritable, peevish, fretful, pettish, touchy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for petulant
  • On the one hand she could be a moody and petulant bully, who carefully cultivated inflexible opinions and fostered great hates.
  • Reagan, flushed with catastrophe and glowing in boy - ish middle age, brought it to a petulant and somehow threatening close.
  • His reply reads as testy and petulant, which may or may not be the intended tone.
  • His performances at European summits were petulant and destructive.
  • He blithered and dissembled, a picture of petulant indecision.
  • Anthony is probably not as petulant, moody or selfish as he projected.
  • There is something courageous and daring in it, but also something rather abrupt and petulant.
  • He must satisfy high-priced ball players, a petulant press and a fickle public.
  • His complaint made him look petulant and a bit absurd.
  • Another petulant passenger tossed a piece of luggage at her.
British Dictionary definitions for petulant


irritable, impatient, or sullen in a peevish or capricious way
Derived Forms
petulance, petulancy, noun
petulantly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: via Old French from Latin petulāns bold, from petulāre (unattested) to attack playfully, from petere to assail
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 petulant

1590s, "immodest, wanton, saucy," from Middle French petulant (mid-14c.), from Latin petulantem (nominative petulans) "wanton, froward, saucy, insolent," present participle of petere "to attack, assail; strive after; ask for, beg, beseech" (see petition (n.)). Meaning "peevish, irritable" first recorded 1775, probably by influence of pet (n.2). Related: Petulantly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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