- a noncommissioned U.S. Navy rank with three grades.
- one of the minor officers on a merchant ship, as a boatswain or carpenter.
Origin of petty officer
First recorded in 1570–80
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for petty officer
The third man turned to give the alarm, but a petty-officer sprang after him and dragged him back by his shirt-collar.Adventures Among the Red Indians
H. W. G. Hyrst
It was Bates, the petty-officer, who was the first to relate their hazardous adventures.
The rasp of a petty-officer singing out the numbers mingled with the hiss and gurgle of the spray.The Syndic
"I wish to see Commander Hythe," he announced to the petty-officer messenger on duty at the Admiralty.
- a noncommissioned officer in a naval service, comparable in rank to a sergeant in an army or marine corps