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90s Slang You Should Know


[pee-vish] /ˈpi vɪʃ/
cross, querulous, or fretful, as from vexation or discontent:
a peevish youngster.
showing annoyance, irritation, or bad mood:
a peevish reply; a peevish frown.
perverse or obstinate.
Origin of peevish
1350-1400; Middle English pevysh < ?
Related forms
peevishly, adverb
peevishness, noun
unpeevish, adjective
unpeevishly, adverb
unpeevishness, noun
1. petulant, irritable, snappish. See cross. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for peevish
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The guests became hungry, peevish, and gloomy, while an excellent dinner continued spoiling before them.

  • The first effect of this on his weak nature was a peevish antagonism to the cause of it.

  • Now, Duke can be ever so snappish and peevish; I'm not half so much afraid for him.

    Magnum Bonum Charlotte M. Yonge
  • So were the lieutenant and the peevish damsels in his Battleston car.

    The Longest Journey E. M. Forster
  • I repeated in some surprise, thinking to myself that so peevish a creature must certainly be best in his sleep.

    The Rambles of a Rat A. L. O. E.
  • They were peevish, crusty, silent, eying nothing in particular and moving their feet.

    Sister Carrie Theodore Dreiser
  • Bein' very beautiful, we can afford to be haughty an' peevish.

    Mr. Dooley Says Finley Dunne
  • Carl, see that you don't squeeze Martin's hand too tight and get him peevish.

    Carl and the Cotton Gin Sara Ware Bassett
British Dictionary definitions for peevish


fretful or irritable: a peevish child
(obsolete) perverse
Derived Forms
peevishly, adverb
peevishness, noun
Word Origin
C14: of unknown origin
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 peevish

late 14c., peyvesshe "perverse, capricious, silly," of uncertain origin, possibly modeled on Latin perversus "reversed, perverse," past participle of pervertere "to turn about" (see pervert (v.)). Meaning "cross, fretful" first recorded 1520s. Related: Peevishly; peevishness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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