[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. peetweet,
  2. peeve,
  3. peeved,
  4. peevedly,
  5. peevers,
  6. peevishly,
  7. peewee,
  8. peewit,
  9. peg,
  10. peg away at

Origin of peevish

1350–1400; Middle English pevysh < ?

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for peevish

British Dictionary definitions for peevish


/ (ˈpiːvɪʃ) /


fretful or irritablea peevish child
obsolete perverse
Derived Formspeevishly, adverbpeevishness, noun

Word Origin for peevish

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

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