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)

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 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 Families just want the process to be fair, said Seeyew Mo, who helped organize the online petition. Jill Tucker, SFChronicle.com, "‘Doesn’t feel fair’: Proposed lottery admissions for S.F.’s elite Lowell High School met with frustration and anger," 13 Oct. 2020 Since Argan broke ground in November, over 27,000 people have signed an online petition against the project. Liz Alderman, New York Times, "Are Amazon Jobs Worth 1,400 Loads of Traffic? French Region Is Split," 11 Oct. 2020 The email linked to an online petition to boost funding to the Equal Rights Commission. Alison Dirr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett removes head of Equal Rights Commission," 10 Oct. 2020 An online petition has collected more than 2,000 signatures. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al, "Brierfield residents oppose Alabama prison plan that caught them by surprise," 9 Oct. 2020 More than 500 people signed an online petition supporting the group’s demands, including for a formal meeting between survivors and organizers and school district officials. Cristóbal Reyes, orlandosentinel.com, "Protesters, Osceola school board discuss demands to address sexual violence," 6 Oct. 2020 This summer, thousands signed an online petition and crowds gathered at multiple rallies and school board meetings to speak out about the change. Mj Slaby, The Indianapolis Star, "Westfield Washington Schools names new high school principal," 1 Oct. 2020 An online petition started by local bar owner T. Cole Newton last week quickly gathered more than 1,700 signatures. Ian Mcnulty | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "New Orleans bars can reopen for takeout and go-cups, retail alcohol sales restricted in French Quarter," 1 Oct. 2020 On Sunday, three Notre Dame students — Ashton Weber, Makira Walton and Patrick Kelly-Dutile — circulated an online petition among students that calls for the Student Senate to demand Jenkins' immediate resignation as university president. Andrew Hughes, chicagotribune.com, "Notre Dame president apologizes for not wearing mask during White House announcement of Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination," 29 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Should the Council pass the Second Look Amendment Act, allowing prisoners who committed serious crimes before age 25 to petition for early release? Gurley declined to answer. Washington Post, "Where the candidates stand on key issues," 13 Oct. 2020 Seeing that upper-echelon politicians from New York seem to be against any development in Brooklyn’s Industry City, can Brooklyn petition to become an independent city again? John L Hoh Jr. WSJ, "Signaling All Virtue While Hurting the Poor," 7 Oct. 2020 Cleveland had to petition to have Sewell added to its post-season roster. Marc Bona, cleveland, "1920 World Series: Cleveland wins, capping an emotional season," 4 Oct. 2020 To discipline priests who broke public health laws, civil authorities had to petition local church officials, like bishops, to intervene. Hannah Marcus, The Conversation, "Quarantine rule breakers in 17th-century Italy partied all night – and some clergy condemned the feasting," 25 Sep. 2020 The law says police have 14 days to petition a judge to keep Parscale from his guns for an entire year. Austen Erblat, sun-sentinel.com, "Brad Parscale’s guns may be kept away from him under Florida’s ‘red flag’ law," 29 Sep. 2020 Sooner, a group advocating for coronavirus challenge trials, is planning to petition the government to fund a challenge study center that can house up to 200 participants, a spokesperson told Quartz. Olivia Goldhill, Quartz, "UK scientists are pushing for the world’s first coronavirus challenge trials," 24 Sep. 2020 Instead, the ruling places an injunction on the law for groups that are beginning to petition for the 2022 election. John Moritz, Arkansas Online, "State law used to spike ballot measures is unconstitutional, judge rules," 24 Sep. 2020 Earlier this year, for instance, Keep Our Constitution Clean and the Florida Chamber of Commerce lobbied side-by-side in the Florida Legislature for a new law that adding further restrictions to petition drives. Jason Garcia, orlandosentinel.com, "Business groups back ballot measure to undercut future constitutional amendments," 24 Sep. 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

18 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Petition.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/petition. Accessed 28 Oct. 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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