- Informal. kissing, caressing, and other sexual activity between partners that does not involve sexual intercourse.Compare heavy petting.
Origin of petting
- any domesticated or tamed animal that is kept as a companion and cared for affectionately.
- a person especially cherished or indulged; favorite: He was the teacher's pet.
- a thing particularly cherished.
- kept or treated as a pet: a pet lamb.
- especially cherished or indulged, as a child or other person.
- favorite; most preferred: a pet theory.
- showing fondness or affection: to address someone with pet words.
- to fondle or caress: to pet a dog.
- to treat as a pet; indulge.
- Informal. to engage in kissing, caressing, and other sexual activity with one’s partner, but not sexual intercourse.
Origin of pet1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
- a fit of peevishness, sulking, or bad mood.
- to be peevish; sulk.
Origin of pet2
Examples from the Web for petting
This time, Hannah was soaking her feet in water and DiMaggio was petting his cat, Princess.Hannah Anderson Captor a ‘Trusted Friend,’ Cat Lover
August 13, 2013
I did some light dieting in the hope of being on-camera and petting a dog, in the next week or two, as per my dream.Julie Klausner: Bush’s Beans Said No
August 6, 2012
At first suspicious and hostile, White Fang grew to like this petting.
Growl he would, from the moment the petting began till it ended.
We have been petting the children, and, like other children, these are a trifle too observant.Brighter Britain! (Volume 1 of 2)
William Delisle Hay
And to tell the truth, it was not often he got a chance of petting his big brother's dormice.The Adventures of Herr Baby
All the new faces, and the petting, were a revelation to Zekal.The Bondwoman
Marah Ellis Ryan
- a tame animal kept in a household for companionship, amusement, etc
- a person who is fondly indulged; favouriteteacher's pet
- kept as a peta pet dog
- of or for pet animalspet food
- particularly cherished; favouritea pet theory; a pet hatred
- familiar or affectionatea pet name
- pet day Scot and Irish a single fine day during a period of bad weather
- (tr) to treat (a person, animal, etc) as a pet; pamper
- (tr) to pat or fondle (an animal, child, etc)
- (intr) informal (of two people) to caress each other in an erotic manner, as during lovemaking (often in the phrase heavy petting)
- a fit of sulkiness, esp at what is felt to be a slight; pique
- (intr) to take offence; sulk
- positron emission tomography
- potentially exempt transfer: a procedure in the UK whereby gifting property and cash is tax-free, provided that the donor lives for at least seven years after the gift is made
Word Origin and History for petting
1873, "fondling indulgence," verbal noun from pet (v.). Meaning "amorous caressing, foreplay" is from 1920 (in F. Scott Fitzgerald).
"tamed animal," originally in Scottish and northern England dialect (and exclusively so until mid-18c.), of unknown origin. Sense of "indulged child" (c.1500) is recorded slightly earlier than that of "animal kept as a favorite" (1530s), but the latter may be the primary meaning. Probably associated with or influenced by petty. As a term of endearment by 1849. Teacher's pet is attested from 1890. Pet-shop from 1928.
"peevishness, offense at feeling slighted," 1580s, in phrase take the pet "take offense." Perhaps from pet (n.1) on a similar notion to that in American English that gets my goat, but the underlying notion is obscure, and the form of the original expression makes this doubtful. This word seems to have been originally a southern English term, while pet (n.1) was northern and Scottish.
- positron emission tomography
Idioms and Phrases with petting
In addition to the idiom beginning with pet
- pet peeve
- teacher's pet