pee·​vish | \ ˈpē-vish How to pronounce peevish (audio) \

Definition of peevish

1 : querulous in temperament or mood : fretful
2 : perversely (see perverse sense 2b) obstinate a peevish child
3 : marked by ill temper has a peevish, even spiteful, streak— Elizabeth Drew

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Other Words from peevish

peevishly adverb
peevishness noun

Examples of peevish in a Sentence

peevish patients in the doctor's waiting room I would rather figure things out on my own than ask that peevish librarian for help.

Recent Examples on the Web

The Bushes are famously of the Episcopal wing of Protestantism, whose origins trace back, in part, to Henry VIII’s peevish break with Rome. Matthew Cooper, Newsweek, "How the Presidential Candidates Found Their Faith," 2 Apr. 2015 In the meantime, however, there will be no shortage of conflicting diagnoses, with pockets of consensus surrounded by a few peevish second and third opinions. Justin Chang,, "What's the state of this year's wide-open Oscar race? Let's examine further.," 15 Dec. 2017 There’s a peevish tone, though, that soon seeps into the DNA of the book. Corey Seymour, Vogue, "Yeah, Working for Rolling Stone Was Like That— But It Was Also Like This," 26 Oct. 2017 The famously peevish ex-Chicago Cubs manager Leo Durocher was careful to keep an extra set of front teeth in his pocket in case someone took particular umbrage at his taunts. Tom Saler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Tom Saler: Damage from trade fight would be more than cosmetic," 29 July 2017 Esther, slightly peevish, stands by, even after Gregory Solomon (Danny DeVito) turns up. Hilton Als, The New Yorker, "The Heaviness of Memory in Arthur Miller’s “The Price”," 16 Mar. 2017 One day, the ladies’ peevish neighbor Ray Dooley (Aaron Monaghan) arrives with an invitation for Maureen. Adam Davidson, The New Yorker, "Martin McDonagh’s Repressed, Explosive World," 30 Jan. 2017 This is an odd, peevish book — but certainly not an uninteresting one. Lisa Schwarzbaum, New York Times, "STANLEY KUBRICK AND ME (Arcade, $27.99)," 1 June 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'peevish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of peevish

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for peevish

Middle English pevish spiteful

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Time Traveler for peevish

The first known use of peevish was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of peevish

: feeling or showing irritation


pee·​vish | \ ˈpē-vish How to pronounce peevish (audio) \

Kids Definition of peevish

: complaining a lot : irritable

Other Words from peevish

peevishly adverb
peevishness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on peevish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with peevish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for peevish

Spanish Central: Translation of peevish

Nglish: Translation of peevish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of peevish for Arabic Speakers

Comments on peevish

What made you want to look up peevish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a period when something is suspended

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