pe·​ter | \ ˈpē-tər How to pronounce peter (audio) \
petered; petering; peters

Definition of peter

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to diminish gradually and come to an end : give out usually used with out novelists whose creative impetus seems largely to have petered outThe Times Literary Supplement (London)
2 : to become exhausted usually used with out


noun (1)

Definition of peter (Entry 2 of 3)

often vulgar
: penis


noun (2)
Pe·​ter | \ ˈpē-tər How to pronounce Peter (audio) \

Definition of Peter (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : a fisherman of Galilee and one of the twelve apostles
2 : either of two hortatory letters written to early Christians and included as books of the New Testament — see Bible Table

Examples of peter in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Tomatoes and most garden vegetables are heavy feeders, and after the initial burst of spring growth in fresh soil and compost, their productivity can peter out in midsummer. Susan Brownstein, cleveland, 21 July 2022 European short-term car sales forecasts are being slashed because of China’s economic problems and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while investors worry that by the time supply chain horrors have subsided, underlying demand growth might peter out. Neil Winton, Forbes, 24 June 2022 Certainly, the prospect of driving around, looking for a charging station, failing to find an available one and maybe just having your car peter out on Flatbush Avenue was not motivating. Ginia Bellafante, New York Times, 11 Mar. 2022 While his tenure would eventually peter out, promoting assistant coach Larry Coker as the replacement for Butch Davis following the 2000 season was the perfect decision for a team that responded to his grandfatherly approach. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, 11 Jan. 2022 The hurricane impact will peter out and even though shortages continue to hamstring various parts of the economy, the recovery is coming along steadily. Anneken Tappe, CNN, 18 Oct. 2021 Their differing responses reflect differences in views about whether the pickup in prices will feed further cycles of inflation or will instead peter out. Paul Hannon, WSJ, 15 Oct. 2021 The collaboration always tends to peter out once the crisis is stabilized even as the underlying causes remain. Carrie Freeman, Forbes, 2 Sep. 2021 When that happens, the cycle of surges will stop and the pandemic will peter out. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, 12 Aug. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of peter


1846, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (1)

circa 1902, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for peter


origin unknown

Noun (1)

from the name Peter

Noun (2)

Late Latin Petrus, from Greek Petros, from petra rock

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Time Traveler for peter

Time Traveler

The first known use of peter was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

3 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Peter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for peter

Peter biographical name

Pe·​ter | \ ˈpē-tər How to pronounce Peter (audio) \

Definition of Peter

circa 1050–1115 the Hermit French preacher of the 1st Crusade

More from Merriam-Webster on peter

Nglish: Translation of peter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of peter for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about peter


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