(of a woman) short and having a small, trim figure; diminutive.


a category of clothing sized for women or girls of less than average height and with average or diminutive figures.
a garment in such a size: The petites are on that rack.
a woman or girl who wears clothing of such a size.

Origin of petite

1705–15; < French; feminine of petit
Related formspe·tite·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for petite

Contemporary Examples of petite

Historical Examples of petite

  • We have not seen the 'Petite Galérie' yet—dear me, how many years it is since I was in it!

    Grandmother Dear

    Mrs. Molesworth

  • He did not know what was being said, but he meant to support his petite amie in whatever she did.

  • He stayed, too, to eat of the petite souper Lady Throckmorton had ordered.


    Mrs. Frances Hodgson Burnett

  • "I want to speak to you, petite," he said, as he drew her into a corner.

  • In 1794 the ground floor of the Petite Galerie was used as a Bourse.

British Dictionary definitions for petite



(of a woman) small, delicate, and dainty

Word Origin for petite

C18: from French, feminine of petit small
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 petite

"little," 1784 (from 1712 in French phrases taken into English), from French petite, fem. of petit "little" (see petit). As a size in women's clothing, attested from 1929.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper