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 petitioning (audio) \; petitions

Definition of petition (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive + intransitive

1 : 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 : 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 petitionary (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 This recommendation was separate from the petition by health care workers. Stephanie Innes, The Arizona Republic, "Doctors urge Arizona leaders to declare 'crisis care standards' because of COVID-19 surge," 30 June 2020 The petition to Marion County officials says that guardrails would have redirected the students' vehicle back onto the road and saved Magyar's life. Justin L. Mack, The Indianapolis Star, "Community mourns Franklin Central student, petitions for guardrails after crash into pond," 29 June 2020 They are scheduled to present the petition at a meeting on Wednesday. Dee-ann Durbin, USA TODAY, "Stores, bars restaurants weigh whether to open or close as Covid-19 cases rise," 28 June 2020 Carter Muelle, who also helped create the petition, says schools perhaps don't know how to approach those issues. Christina Maxouris, CNN, "A petition wants to replace a New Jersey city's Christopher Columbus statue with Black trans activist Marsha P. Johnson," 27 June 2020 The petition likely won’t have much traction at Cleveland City Council. Kaylee Remington, cleveland, "Petition asks Cleveland City Council to replace Christopher Columbus statue with Chef Boyardee," 26 June 2020 Critics say the nickname celebrates a racist history, and the petition has received more than 5,000 signatures. Kellie Hwang, SFChronicle.com, "These are the California statues being removed amid calls for racial justice," 25 June 2020 The petition mentions the 2018-20 Wauwatosa School District equity plan. Evan Casey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "People are petitioning to rename Wauwatosa schools named after 'slave owners, segregationists'," 25 June 2020 The petition needed nearly 25,000 signatures by March 6 for the initiative to be placed on the May 26 primary-election ballot. oregonlive, "Long before ‘Defund Police’ movement, Portland’s Black Panthers sought ‘community control’ of police, pursued radical ballot initiative," 25 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Demonstrators, however, have also attempted to tear down or petition local governments to decommission statues of historical figures such as former Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Ulysses S. Grant. Anthony Leonardi, Washington Examiner, "Trump says he signed 'very strong' executive order to protect monuments and statues," 26 June 2020 In order to form an NCA, DealPoint had to petition the city to do so. cleveland, "Richmond Heights names residents to board overseeing Belle Oaks financing," 18 June 2020 Just 19 states and the District of Columbia have them in some form, each with slight variations in who can petition for the order, but the general principles are the same. Chethan Sathya, Scientific American, "Pandemic-Related Gun Purchases Raise Suicide Risks," 17 June 2020 Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee in November, urged his supporters Thursday to petition Facebook to stop disinformation and hold politicians, including President Donald Trump, accountable for spreading lies. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, "Biden campaign demands that Facebook crack down on Trump, disinformation ahead of presidential election," 12 June 2020 Dred Scott is also the namesake of the 1857 U.S. Supreme Court case in which justices ruled that black people, freed or enslaved, were not U.S. citizens and thus could not petition for their freedom. al, "Social justice group demands apology from Alabama senator for ‘racist’ remarks," 11 June 2020 The suit was filed under a 1976 federal law, the Toxic Substances Control Act, which allows citizen groups to petition the EPA to reconsider its previous approval of a chemical. Bob Egelko, SFChronicle.com, "Trial underway in SF could remove fluoride from drinking water," 8 June 2020 Some states seemed to temper the harshness of disenfranchisement by allowing ex-convicts to petition for a restoration of their voting rights. Austin Sarat, The Conversation, "Stripping voting rights from felons is about politics, not punishment," 4 June 2020 Black Lives Matter Phoenix Metro, Mass Liberation Arizona, Fund for Empowerment and Poder in Action asked followers to meet outside Phoenix City Hall to petition Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and members of City Council to defund the Phoenix police. Kaila White, azcentral, "On Phoenix's 7th day of protests, focus shifts to City Council and police budget," 4 June 2020

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

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Petition.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/petition. Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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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

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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Comments on petition

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