petition

noun
pe·​ti·​tion | \ pə-ˈti-shən How to pronounce petition (audio) \
plural petitions

Definition of petition

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a formal written request made to an authority or organized body (such as a court) filing a petition for divorce Her defense lawyer had petitioned the court to videotape Scott's testimony about Hearst before he died, but the petition was denied.— Robert Lipsyte
b : a written request or call for change signed by many people in support of a shared cause or concern Hundreds of contributors and readers signed a petition circulated by the National Book Critics Circle, urging the Post to save the stand-alone section.— Motoko Rich Her group put together a petition signed by more than 100,000 consumers demanding that regulators crack down on companies who "robocall" consumers using automated dialers and recorded voices to market scams.— Shawn Zeller
2 : an earnest request : entreaty … he begged to sleep with Hareton, and his petition was granted for once.— Emily Brontë
3 : something asked or requested

petition

verb
petitioned; petitioning\ pə-​ˈti-​sh(ə-​)niŋ How to pronounce petition (audio) \; petitions

Definition of petition (Entry 2 of 2)

1 transitive : to make a request to (someone) especially : to make a formal written request to (an authority) His people petitioned the government for permission to use the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. — Taylor Branch … to adopt "red-flag" laws, which allow police officers and family members to petition a court to bar dangerous individuals from possessing guns. — Norman J. Ornstein
2 intransitive : to make a request She neither petitioned for her right nor claimed it.— George Meredith especially : to make a formal written request A year later he moved to Rome and petitioned to join the Jesuits, who gave him a university education and ordained him in 1586. — Brian Vickers

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Other Words from petition

Noun

petitionary \ pə-​ˈti-​shə-​ˌner-​ē How to pronounce petition (audio) \ adjective

Examples of petition in a Sentence

Noun They collected 2,000 signatures on a petition demanding that women be allowed to join the club. Would you like to sign our petition? We presented a petition to the legislature to change the law. She filed a petition for divorce. We ask you to hear our petition. Verb The organization petitioned the government to investigate the issue. All people had the right to petition the king for help. She petitioned to join their club.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Indigenous youth delivered four hundred thousand petition signatures to the Army Corps of Engineers, demanding that the Biden Administration withdraw support for the Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota. Bill Mckibben, The New Yorker, "Finally, Green Infrastructure Spending in an Amount That Starts with a “T”," 7 Apr. 2021 The Board of Elections then had 21 days by state law to verify the petition signatures, according to Mickley. Ana Faguy, baltimoresun.com, "Referendum question on Howard’s sanctuary county status will appear on 2022 ballot," 5 Apr. 2021 The Houston Charter Amendment Coalition is expected to deliver the petition signatures to city officials on Monday so they can be verified, FOX 26 reported. Dom Calicchio, Fox News, "Houston’s Democrat mayor facing possible referendum on his powers after 35,000 signatures collected: report," 2 Apr. 2021 The tally of petition signatures in the effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom won’t be complete until next month, but California’s election rules could make the recall a wild ride this year. Los Angeles Times, "Today’s Headlines: ‘A life-and-death race’," 30 Mar. 2021 Local elections officials are checking the 2.1 million petition signatures that supporters turned in this month to see if backers gathered the nearly 1.5 million valid ones needed to qualify the recall for the ballot. Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle, "Newsom has big lead in California recall election, according to new poll," 30 Mar. 2021 Elsewhere, hourly Amazon employees are gathering petition signatures, discussing potential strikes and consulting with unions about possible demands. Sebastian Herrera, WSJ, "Amazon Faces Growing Worker Pressure in Shadow of Alabama Union Vote," 24 Mar. 2021 Organizers of the recall effort will turn in all petition signatures to the California Secretary of State's office — which is headed by Shirley Weber, a former Democratic legislator Newsom appointed in December. Christal Hayes, USA TODAY, "California Gov. Gavin Newsom readies for recall election fueled by backlash to pandemic restrictions," 17 Mar. 2021 The fate of a potential recall election will be decided behind closed doors, where election officials across the state have spent months assessing the validity of petition signatures. Michael R. Blood And Kathleen Ronayne, Star Tribune, "As signature collection ends, California heads toward recall," 15 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Spears also reserved the right to petition for the permanent termination of her conservatorship under the state Probate Code. Winston Gieseke, USA TODAY, "In California: Which counties are pushing hardest to recall Newsom?," 27 Mar. 2021 It’s a First Amendment right to petition your government for redress of grievances. al, "Mo Brooks calls U.S. Capitol rioters ‘fools’; says sedition charges up to Justice Department," 27 Mar. 2021 Weier can petition every six months for her conditional release. Christopher Kuhagen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A woman involved in the Slender Man stabbing is requesting conditional release. Here's what to know.," 4 Mar. 2021 Former felons must still petition the Board, which meets quarterly, to have rights restored other than voting rights. Steven Lemongello, orlandosentinel.com, "DeSantis again denies pardon to ex-felon voting advocate Desmond Meade," 10 Mar. 2021 Either side can petition the judge to reject a juror for cause. Joe Barrett, WSJ, "Trial in George Floyd’s Death: Charges Against Derek Chauvin, Jury and What Else You Need To Know," 8 Mar. 2021 The mosque could petition the Park Board to change the master plan, which would require a majority vote. Susan Du, Star Tribune, "Minneapolis mosque says Park Board's refusal to sell land for parking infringes on religious liberty," 12 Feb. 2021 John Davis was first among 50 New York lawyers, in 1933, to petition the secretary of state to protest Hitler’s purge of Jewish lawyers. Roger Lowenstein, WSJ, "‘The Anointed’ Review: Gentlemen Play a Ruffian’s Game," 28 Feb. 2021 The residents of Minneapolis have the right to petition their government and otherwise exercise their constitutional rights to speech and assembly. Sheila Nezhad, Star Tribune, "Minneapolis doesn't need a National Guard occupation," 28 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'petition.' 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 petition

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Verb

1607, in the meaning defined at sense

History and Etymology for petition

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin petition-, petitio, from petere to seek, request — more at feather

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Time Traveler for petition

Time Traveler

The first known use of petition was in the 14th century

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Statistics for petition

Last Updated

10 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Petition.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/petition. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for petition

petition

verb

English Language Learners Definition of petition

: to ask (a person, group, or organization) for something in a formal way

petition

noun
pe·​ti·​tion | \ pə-ˈti-shən How to pronounce petition (audio) \

Kids Definition of petition

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an earnest appeal
2 : a formal written request made to an authority

petition

verb
petitioned; petitioning

Kids Definition of petition (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make an often formal request to or for

Other Words from petition

petitioner noun

petition

noun
pe·​ti·​tion

Legal Definition of petition

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a formal written request made to an official person or body (as a court or board) a petition for equitable relief the creditor filed a petition for involuntary bankruptcy
2 : a document embodying a formal written request

petition

transitive verb

Legal Definition of petition (Entry 2 of 2)

: to direct a petition to petition the court

intransitive verb

: to make a petition petition for relief

Other Words from petition

petitioner noun

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