peter

1 of 3

verb

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

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

peter

2 of 3

noun (1)

often vulgar
: penis

Peter

3 of 3

noun (2)

Pe·​ter ˈpē-tər How to pronounce Peter (audio)
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
This river typically peters out as its water is diverted for irrigation. Jack Lee, San Francisco Chronicle, 5 Apr. 2023 Crazy theories often peter out. Jeffrey M. O'Brien, Fortune, 2 June 2022 But those efforts often peter out over time. Ellevate, Forbes, 21 Sep. 2021 Wintry deluges could peter out, giving way to stuborrnly persistent warmth and dryness that would partially or even totally erase the precipitation gains made so far this winter, at least for some parts of the West. Tom Yulsman, Discover Magazine, 24 Feb. 2019 In this view, the comet's tail splits in two, and the trail of the comet seems to shrink and peter out closer to the sun. Corey S Powell, Discover Magazine, 29 Nov. 2013 Even if the Fed does nothing, so long as there are no more shocks, inflation will eventually peter out. John H. Cochrane, WSJ, 24 Aug. 2022 And although the downsides of obstetric anesthesia have largely fallen away in the 175 years since its first use, the desire among some women to experience labor in all its brutality has yet to fully peter out, and perhaps never will. Stephanie H. Murray, The Atlantic, 12 Aug. 2022 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

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

Word History

Etymology

Verb

origin unknown

Noun (1)

from the name Peter

Noun (2)

Late Latin Petrus, from Greek Petros, from petra rock

First Known Use

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near peter

Cite this Entry

“Peter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/peter. Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

peter

1 of 2 verb
pe·​ter
ˈpēt-ər
1
: to slowly come to an end
usually used with out
her popularity petered out
2
: to become exhausted
usually used with out
raked half the lawn before he petered out

Peter

2 of 2 noun
Pe·​ter ˈpēt-ər How to pronounce Peter (audio)
: either of two letters written to early Christians and included as books of the New Testament see bible table

Biographical Definition

Peter

biographical name

Pe·​ter ˈpē-tər How to pronounce Peter (audio)
circa 1050–1115 the Hermit French preacher of the 1st Crusade

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