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

Definition of peter

 (Entry 1 of 4)

intransitive verb

1 : to diminish gradually and come to an end : give out usually used with outnovelists 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 4)

often vulgar


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

Definition of Peter (Entry 3 of 4)

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


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

Definition of Peter (Entry 4 of 4)

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

Examples of peter in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In the past such a plume of warm, moist air migrating north from Siberia would have encountered ice, quickly cooled down and perhaps petered out. Robin George Andrews, National Geographic, "Lightning struck near the North Pole 48 times. It's not normal.," 13 Aug. 2019 Some analysts blame bad weather for a poor start to 2019, but Formula Boats attributes some of the decline to a petering out of underlying demand. John D. Stoll, WSJ, "Boatbuilder’s Million-Dollar Problem: No One Wants to Eat the Tariff," 28 June 2019 The reforms have the potential to re-ignite the yellow vest movement, which petered out during the summer after months of protests against Macron’s economic reform program. Washington Post, "France’s Macron to launch controversial pension overhaul," 5 Sep. 2019 Last year, the flu season set a record as the longest-running in a decade petering out around April and led to record-breaking hospitalizations. Sonja Haller, USA TODAY, "Kids should get a 2019 flu shot before Halloween. But parents are skeptical it works," 5 Sep. 2019 The dynasty could peter out even if a healthy Durant returns. Michael Shapiro,, "Five Big Questions Surrounding Kevin Durant's NBA Free Agency," 24 June 2019 Most likely, Wall Street strategists say, stocks would keepon rising after news of the quarter-point reduction, but once the one-and-donestrategy is revealed, the rally would become muted or may even peter out. Larry Light, Fortune, "Here Are the Fed’s Four Options for a Rate Cut—and How the Market Will React to Each," 29 July 2019 Some investors and Tesla critics had suggested that consumer appetite for the electric vehicles was petering out. Chris Isidore, CNN, "Tesla sets a record for sales, and its stock jumps 7%," 2 July 2019 That had sparked concerns that consumer appetite for its electric vehicles was petering out. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Tesla's record; Lagarde's new job; Broadcom eyes Symantec," 3 July 2019

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.

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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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Statistics for peter

Last Updated

26 Sep 2019

Time Traveler for peter

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on peter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with peter

Spanish Central: Translation of peter

Nglish: Translation of peter for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on peter

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to speed up the process or progress of

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