- 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.
Origin of petty
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for pettily
I am often pettily, impulsively false; its quite, quite true.The Confounding of Camelia
Anne Douglas Sedgwick
- trivial; trifling; inessentialpetty details
- of a narrow-minded, mean, or small-natured disposition or characterpetty spite
- minor or subordinate in rankpetty officialdom
- law of lesser importance
Word Origin and History for pettily
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.