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See more synonyms for pettish on Thesaurus.com
  1. petulantly peevish: a pettish refusal.
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Origin of pettish

First recorded in 1585–95; see origin at pet2, -ish1
Related formspet·tish·ly, adverbpet·tish·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for pettish

petulant, contentious, litigious, cantankerous, tempestuous, belligerent, combative, turbulent, fractious, unruly, tricky, jumpy, testy, precarious, sensitive, uptight, volatile, delicate, ticklish, risky

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


  1. peevish; petulanta pettish child
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper