- 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 pettiness
Rather, he dishes up a seemingly endless stream of examples of pettiness, irritation, hypocrisy and awkwardness.Fear And Self-Loathing In Scandinavia: The Fiction Of Karl Ove Knausgaard
May 28, 2014
The pettiness could be no issue—photograph all of your children, rainbows, sunsets, and kittens.All You Need to Be a Modern Digital Stalker Is a Smartphone
April 10, 2014
It represents instead a sorry reflection of the pettiness of current political debate in Washington.Obama Will Lose Recess Appointment Case, but Will Other Presidents Lose Their Power?
January 14, 2014
And it makes the pettiness and obstinacy on display in the U.S. over these negotiations all the more unseemly.Fiscal Cliff Stalemate Needs Two-Party Solution
December 10, 2012
It remains the must-have accessory, the absence of it destined to whip up a firestorm of pettiness.Election Night 2012: Fashion of Jubilation And Mourning
November 7, 2012
Nothing but our own pinchbeck ideas could ascribe to Him this pettiness.The Conquest of Fear
Round me there is naught but weakness, hypocrisy, pettiness.Secret Memoirs: The Story of Louise, Crown Princess
Henry W. Fischer
I wish to be thought exclusive, yet I condemn the pettiness of my ambition.Robert Orange
John Oliver Hobbes
And James was horrified at the pettiness and the prejudice which he found in his home.
Then, indeed, was no restraint or pettiness; then men were hard and firm and strong.
- 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 pettiness
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.