[ pi-tahrd ]
/ pɪˈtɑrd /


an explosive device formerly used in warfare to blow in a door or gate, form a breach in a wall, etc.
a kind of firecracker.
(initial capital letter) Also called Flying Dustbin. a British spigot mortar of World War II that fired a 40-pound (18 kg) finned bomb, designed to destroy pillboxes and other concrete obstacles.

Nearby words

  1. petalite,
  2. petalody,
  3. petaloid,
  4. petalous,
  5. petaluma,
  6. petasos,
  7. petasus,
  8. petaurist,
  9. petavius,
  10. petcock


    hoist by/with one's own petard, hurt, ruined, or destroyed by the very device or plot one had intended for another.

Origin of petard

1590–1600; < Middle French, equivalent to pet(er) to break wind (derivative of pet < Latin pēditum a breaking wind, orig. neuter of past participle of pēdere to break wind) + -ard -ard Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for petard


/ (pɪˈtɑːd) /


(formerly) a device containing explosives used to breach a wall, doors, etc
hoist with one's own petard being the victim of one's own schemes
a type of explosive firework

Word Origin for petard

C16: from French: firework, from péter to break wind, from Latin pēdere

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 petard


Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper