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 Hart’s petition and must file her paper work by Jan. 22. Kerry Picket, Washington Examiner, "Battle over contested House election continues after Iowa Republican is seated," 3 Jan. 2021 Davis called into a recent virtual city council meeting to elaborate on her decision to start the new petition, which as of Tuesday had garnered nearly 200 signatures. Blake Bacho, Detroit Free Press, "Commissioner: Monroe statue not going anywhere," 29 Dec. 2020 As a matter of craftsmanship, the petition for certiorari, principally penned by Chapman Law School’s John Eastman, is superior to other pleadings that the campaign has generated. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "A Fatally Flawed Trump Petition to the Supreme Court," 23 Dec. 2020 The singer-songwriter has started a Change.org petition urging officials in his home country to put an end to the lockdowns put in place to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Gary Dinges, USA TODAY, "'You let them put the fear on you': Van Morrison teams with Eric Clapton for anti-lockdown song," 19 Dec. 2020 Two days after the letter, the physicians reiterated their message on a public petition, which now has more than 1,000 signatures. Alex Putterman, courant.com, "Gov. Lamont faces growing pressure to close Connecticut businesses as coronavirus cases rise," 10 Dec. 2020 Texas Solicitor General Kyle Hawkins did not sign the petition, which is also rare for a state filing to the U.S. Supreme Court. Star Tribune, "'A new movement': Trump's false claims take hold in states," 8 Dec. 2020 That same day, the Clyde High School senior created a Change.org petition demanding that boys be allowed to wear nail polish. Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, "Male student given in-school suspension for wearing nail polish to Texas high school," 5 Dec. 2020 The students later took to the digital ramparts, circulating a Change.org protest petition online that had been signed by nearly 12,000 people through 2 p.m. on Thursday. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "SDSU students in uproar after faculty cancels spring break," 3 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Currently, those convicted of marijuana possession between 30 and 500 grams of marijuana must petition a court to have their records wiped clean. Fox News, "Chicago area prosecutor wants to wipe records for marijuana dealers; Cocaine & heroin could be next," 22 Dec. 2020 Most cases held in Juvenile Court are not open to the public, but state law does allow media to petition a judge for access to some cases based on the charges and other factors. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Police: DNA from teen suspect found on victim in slaying on Carlsbad trail," 22 Dec. 2020 Vectren was the first utility to petition the IURC for permission to end net metering sooner, on January 1, 2021.Their proposal has not yet been approved, and remains with the IURC. London Gibson, The Indianapolis Star, "Riding the 'solar coaster': Tax credits could be extended as part of COVID-19 relief bill," 21 Dec. 2020 Those under religious persecution in China have the might of the U.S. and most of the West to petition for their rights. WSJ, "Pope Francis’s Silence on China’s Persecution," 13 Dec. 2020 Speeding in residential areas compels residents to petition city government for speed bumps. Frank Fellone, Arkansas Online, "OPINION | DRIVETIME MAHATMA: How nobly teens roll, well tested," 6 Dec. 2020 Becker has introduced articles of impeachment against the governor (though the effort hasn’t gone anywhere), and is urging people to petition their local prosecutors to arrest the governor on charges ranging from terrorism to inciting panic. Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland, "Ohio man tells police of scheme to place Gov. Mike DeWine under ‘house arrest’," 23 Oct. 2020 Until then, neither party can petition the House to contest the race. Kerry Picket, Washington Examiner, "Time running out for Iowa Democrat to contest election in the House," 14 Dec. 2020 Steve Kerr, with his penchant for busting clipboards, will petition the league to be allowed to wear a karate gi. Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "Warriors return to life with a win, tenacious D and weird telecast," 12 Dec. 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

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Petition.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/petition. Accessed 22 Jan. 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

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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