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 Taylor's lawyers filed a petition for post-conviction relief and asked for his release or his sentence to be reduced. Lauren Castle, azcentral, "U.S. Supreme Court denies Arizona man's petition to seek damages for 'wrongful conviction'," 23 Mar. 2020 The group, led by oil billionaire Harold Hamm, filed a petition with the US Commerce Department last week to consider duties on oil from Russia and Saudi Arabia. Matt Egan, CNN, "How America can fight back in the oil war with Russia and Saudi Arabia," 20 Mar. 2020 Today, three groups —the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, New Mexico Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and Adobe Whitewater Club — filed a petition asking the New Mexico Supreme Court to rule in favor of public access. Christine Peterson, Outdoor Life, "Lawyers, Trout, and Money—The Crazy Story Behind the Water Access Battle in New Mexico," 13 Mar. 2020 Attorneys for 21 young plaintiffs who sued the U.S. government in a landmark climate lawsuit late Monday filed a petition asking the full Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to review and revive the case. oregonlive, "Youth plaintiffs urge full federal appeals court to review and revive their climate lawsuit," 3 Mar. 2020 Lawyers associated with the Observatory filed a petition in federal court to force the State of Mexico to reopen criminal proceedings against Hernández de Cruceño. Seth Harp, Harper's magazine, "In Harm’s Way," 2 Mar. 2020 The clerk said that the city did have a group contact them about filing this petition, but nothing official has been submitted to the city clerk's office at this point. Sebastian Blanco, Car and Driver, "Group Wants San Diego to Ban Gas-Powered-Car Purchases over $50,000," 23 Feb. 2020 Meanwhile, González and Menchaca have filed a petition on change.org accusing the city of violating their right to freedom of speech and expression. Elaine Ayala, ExpressNews.com, "Ayala: Provocative art video leaves city officials looking like prudes," 22 Feb. 2020 Munoz filed a clemency petition in 2013 that was denied during the Barack Obama administration. Paul Cobler, Dallas News, "Trump grants clemency to McKinney construction firm founder and West Texas mother of two," 18 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Perez gathered the necessary signatures to petition his way into the general election as a Democratic challenger, according to the secretary of the state’s office. Rebecca Lurye, courant.com, "Eddie Perez quiet after Hartford primary loss, despite saying he’d support Democratic nominee," 12 Sep. 2019 Water activists and the ACLU had warned that mass water shutoffs in Detroit imperil public health, petitioning Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration to declare a health emergency. Nancy Kaffer, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit offers new payment plan to limit water shutoffs during coronavirus crisis," 9 Mar. 2020 He's been locked up at a medium-security prison in North Carolina for more than a decade but recently his lawyer petitioned the court for a compassionate release. Barnini Chakraborty, Fox News, "Bernie Madoff billion-dollar ponzi scheme and what he wants now: Everything you should know," 7 Mar. 2020 Fewer than 40% of the world's countries observe daylight saving time, and states like California, Florida, and Montana have all petitioned to become exempt. Lizz Schumer, Good Housekeeping, "Here's Why We Have Daylight Saving Time and How It Started," 6 Mar. 2020 On Wednesday, she will be joined by Alice Marie Johnson, whose life sentence for a nonviolent drug charge was commuted in 2018 after Kardashian West successfully petitioned it to Donald Trump. Sarah Midkiff, refinery29.com, "Kim Kardashian Heads To The White House To Fight For Women Behind Bars," 5 Mar. 2020 On Wednesday, she will be joined by Alice Marie Johnson, whose life sentence for a nonviolent drug charge was commuted in 2018 after Kardashian West successfully petitioned it to Donald Trump. Sarah Midkiff, Refinery29, "Kim Kardashian Heads To The White House To Fight For Women Behind Bars," 4 Mar. 2020 The Air Force does not have funds for noise mitigation, but officials in Madison can petition the FAA for money to replace windows and possibly insulation in homes affected by loud planes. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Madison almost certainly will get new F-35 jets at Wisconsin Air National Guard unit, despite noise concerns," 20 Feb. 2020 Next steps could include MLB petitioning the US Supreme Court by the end of next month to put the case on next year’s docket. Michael Silverman, BostonGlobe.com, "MLB, MiLB brace for new round of talks on a Professional Baseball Agreement," 19 Feb. 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

30 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Petition.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/petition. Accessed 3 Apr. 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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