[pech-uh-luh ns]


the state or quality of being petulant.
a petulant speech or action.

Origin of petulance

First recorded in 1600–10, petulance is from the Latin word petulantia impudence. See petulant, -ance Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for petulance

irritability, bitterness, cynicism

Examples from the Web for petulance

Contemporary Examples of petulance

Historical Examples of petulance

  • "But I can't see——" Aggie began to argue with the petulance of a spoiled child.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Hagar forgot her petulance, and became curious as any white woman.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • "I wish I could be as cool-headed as Thomas," she said, with a tinge of petulance.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • She must have been really kind, for she never resented any petulance or carelessness.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • The gloom and petulance that had collected upon his countenance were dissipated in a moment.


    William Godwin

Word Origin and History for petulance

c.1600, "insolence, immodesty," from French pétulance (early 16c.), from Latin petulantia "sauciness, impudence," noun of quality from petulantem (see petulant). Meaning "peevishness" is recorded from 1784, from influence of pettish, etc. It displaced earlier petulancy (1550s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper