pet·​ty | \ ˈpe-tē How to pronounce petty (audio) \
pettier; pettiest

Definition of petty

1 : having secondary rank or importance : minor, subordinate
2 : having little or no importance or significance
3 : marked by or reflective of narrow interests and sympathies : small-minded

Other Words from petty

pettily \ ˈpe-​tə-​lē How to pronounce petty (audio) \ adverb
pettiness \ ˈpe-​tē-​nəs How to pronounce petty (audio) \ noun

Examples of petty in a Sentence

a petty argument about grammar My behavior was petty and stupid. I apologize.
Recent Examples on the Web Police caught the suspect and charged him with petty theft and drug paraphernalia. Bruce Geiselman, cleveland, 7 Aug. 2022 From the creators of The Hills, Selling Sunset provides viewers with romance, petty drama, luxurious homes, and a game of trying to remember which Oppenheim twin is which. Emily Smith,, 9 July 2022 Succession-style petty drama behind the scenes of the Succession production company. Rebecca Alter, Vulture, 30 Nov. 2021 Men Tell All was mostly a pointless recap of all the petty man-drama this season, but there was a very important Bachelorette promo at the end of it. Martha Sorren,, 26 July 2021 Why petty drama matters in the workplace, and other advice on office thievery. Megan Greenwell, Wired, 7 Apr. 2021 On July 27, 2022, Ana Ervin, 36, was charged with petty theft, according to a press release from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Garfield Hylton, Orlando Sentinel, 28 July 2022 The employee is being charged with petty theft, according to a police report. Bruce Geiselman, cleveland, 23 July 2022 Before long, running away escalated to petty theft, then stealing cars and breaking into homes. Erica L. Green,, 14 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'petty.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of petty

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for petty

Middle English pety small, minor, alteration of petit

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Time Traveler for petty

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for petty

Last Updated

13 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Petty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for petty


pet·​ty | \ ˈpe-tē How to pronounce petty (audio) \
pettier; pettiest

Kids Definition of petty

1 : small and of no importance Don't worry about the petty details.
2 : showing or having a mean narrow-minded attitude

Other Words from petty

pettiness \ ˈpe-​tē-​nəs \ noun


pet·​ty | \ ˈpe-tē How to pronounce petty (audio) \

Legal Definition of petty

: relatively minor in degree a petty offense punishable by not more than six months in prison — compare grand

Petty biographical name

Pet·​ty | \ ˈpe-tē How to pronounce Petty (audio) \

Definition of Petty

Sir William 1623–1687 English political economist

More from Merriam-Webster on petty

Nglish: Translation of petty for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of petty for Arabic Speakers


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