petulantly peevish: a pettish refusal.

Origin of pettish

First recorded in 1585–95; see origin at pet2, -ish1
Related formspet·tish·ly, adverbpet·tish·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pettish

Historical Examples of pettish

  • Nor was there in this her conclusion anything of chagrin, or pettish self-humiliation.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • She threw it down upon the table with a pettish gesture that was wholly feminine.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • “But you know I go to sleep when I am rocking,” said Tessa, in pettish remonstrance.


    George Eliot

  • Now, Margaret, do not be pettish, and deny yourself what you know you like best.


    Harriet Martineau

  • Mr. Haydon affected not to see the pettish act, but turned to his companion.

    That Girl Montana

    Marah Ellis Ryan

British Dictionary definitions for pettish



peevish; petulanta pettish child
Derived Formspettishly, adverbpettishness, noun

Word Origin for pettish

C16: from pet ²
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 pettish

1550s, "impetuous," evidently from pet (n.2) in its "ill humor" sense + -ish. Meaning "peevish, easily annoyed" is from 1590s.

It has naturally been assoc. with PET sb.1, as being a characteristic habit of a "pet" or indulged and spoiled child; but the connexion of sense is not very clear or simple .... [OED]

Related: Pettishly; pettishness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper