- 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
- Richard,born 1937, U.S. racing-car driver.
- William, 2nd Earl of Shelburne, 1st Marquis of Lansdowne. William Petty Fitzmaurice Lansdowne.
Examples from the Web for petty
Petty, shade, and thirst are my favorite human “virtues” and the trifecta of any good series of “stories.”‘Empire’ Review: Hip-Hop Musical Chairs with an Insane Soap Opera Twist
January 8, 2015
In no way, he said, did Brown deserve to die for what began as petty theft.A Black Cop’s Tough Words for Mike Brown
Mary M. Chapman
December 3, 2014
No more cynically cutting opposition candidates out of a district for petty political purposes.Hate Hyper-Partisanship? Support Redistricting Reform Now
November 3, 2014
But when the end result is tens of millions raised, do the shades of vanity or petty grudges truly matter?#IceBucketChallenge Wisdom From 'Jackass' Steve-O
August 21, 2014
Sure, you may call this petty, but it really does chap my hide!Uncle Ro Ro Daddy Hates Rudeness!
Roland S. Martin
August 9, 2014
What did he care then for Halbert Davis and his petty malice!Brave and Bold
Not that in his presence she became vain or petty or jealous; that would have been impossible.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
No matter by what petty trials they were caught so that they were really caught.Ester Ried Yet Speaking
Now that he was gone there would be nothing but quarrels and petty jealousies.The Trail Book
This kind of petty bribery is, of course, abominable, and should never be countenanced.The Underdog
F. Hopkinson Smith
- 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 petty
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.