petulant

[pech-uh-luhnt]

adjective

moved to or showing sudden, impatient irritation, especially over some trifling annoyance: a petulant toss of the head.

Origin of petulant

1590–1600; < Latin petulant- (stem of petulāns) impudent, akin to petere to seek, head for
Related formspet·u·lant·ly, adverbun·pet·u·lant, adjectiveun·pet·u·lant·ly, adverb

Synonyms for petulant

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


Examples from the Web for petulant

Contemporary Examples of petulant

Historical Examples of petulant

  • "I sha'n't tell you," came the petulant retort from the girl.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • She shrugged her shoulders with a petulant pessimism her youth made amusing.

  • Are you mistress of the petulant, the peevish, and the sullen tone?

  • For the first time, too, there was a petulant vein in his attitude toward me.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • Smiled, and made him ashamed of his petulant gift there, before them.

    Poems

    William D. Howells


British Dictionary definitions for petulant

petulant

adjective

irritable, impatient, or sullen in a peevish or capricious way
Derived Formspetulance or petulancy, nounpetulantly, adverb

Word Origin for petulant

C16: via Old French from Latin petulāns bold, from petulāre (unattested) to attack playfully, from petere to assail
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 petulant
adj.

1590s, "immodest, wanton, saucy," from Middle French petulant (mid-14c.), from Latin petulantem (nominative petulans) "wanton, froward, saucy, insolent," present participle of petere "to attack, assail; strive after; ask for, beg, beseech" (see petition (n.)). Meaning "peevish, irritable" first recorded 1775, probably by influence of pet (n.2). Related: Petulantly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper