pee·​vish ˈpē-vish How to pronounce peevish (audio)
: querulous in temperament or mood : fretful
: perversely (see perverse sense 2b) obstinate
a peevish child
: marked by ill temper
has a peevish, even spiteful, streakElizabeth Drew
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 What if this progeny pre-programmed for money-making zeal is also more likely to end up wandering around a mansion, micro-dosing LSD and sending peevish tweets? Frederick Kaufman, Fortune, 30 July 2023 But dozens of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle decried the agreement concocted over the weekend by President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the clouds of complaints imbuing the Capitol with a decidedly peevish atmosphere on Tuesday. Grace Segers, The New Republic, 31 May 2023 Netflix did mercifully upgrade the Basic plan to 720p at the same time that the Basic With Ads tier was launched, but that doesn’t undermine my argument that settling on 720p as a way of justifying different subscriptions felt rather peevish and out of touch with today’s AV world. John Archer, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2023 The actor nicely captures Higgins’s peevish hauteur and invincible self-assurance. Don Aucoin,, 20 Apr. 2023 And like any 5-year old, Hrysha is peevish at times or complains about going to school. Alice Martins, Washington Post, 26 Mar. 2023 Easy for a peevish white guy to say. Steve Chapman,, 18 Dec. 2020 To be bored more than occasionally seems a small, peevish grievance in the scheme of things, a sort of weak-minded disengagement from a world that demands urgent action to try to set it right (while offering endlessly streaming entertainment to distract us). Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, 20 Aug. 2020 The rhythm of his clicks was erratic, possibly peevish. PCMAG, 14 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'peevish.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English pevish spiteful

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near peevish

Cite this Entry

“Peevish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


pee·​vish ˈpē-vish How to pronounce peevish (audio)
peevishly adverb
peevishness noun

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