petty

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

Definition of petty

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

Petty

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

Definition of Petty (Entry 2 of 2)

Sir William 1623–1687 English political economist

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Other Words from petty

Adjective

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

Examples of petty in a Sentence

Adjective

a petty argument about grammar My behavior was petty and stupid. I apologize.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Buried in the petty jealousies and breathless infatuations, though, is Ricard opening his heart—in all its vulnerability and honesty and vanity and glory-seeking—to the world. Corey Seymour, Vogue, "Rene Ricard’s First Book of Poems, Long Out of Print, Is Back—And It’s a Revelation," 4 May 2018 Always emotionally resonant, Japan's Kore-eda Hirokazu tells a story of a family of petty criminals. Kenneth Turan, latimes.com, "A kiss is not just a kiss at Cannes, where the mood is edgy this year," 7 May 2018 Petty theft of $20 cash reported by Ramona Village Apartments, 110 Seventh St. Zigman Shields General Contractors reported petty theft of two miscellaneous items valued at $400 in the 2000 block of Main Street. Sentinel Staff, Ramona Sentinel, "Sheriff's Reports: March 18-25," 27 Mar. 2018 There’s not as much money for the police force, and there’s a rash of break-ins and petty crime. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "The case against billionaire philanthropy," 17 Dec. 2018 The lengthy prison term prompted outrage on social media, with some people accusing the prosecutor of imposing too harsh a sentence for a seemingly petty crime. Bradford Betz, Fox News, "Florida man gets 20 years for stealing $600 worth of cigarettes," 24 Sep. 2018 The film is an intimate and accessible drama about a family of small-time petty crooks who live in a small house, scratch out a living, and take in a young girl who appears to have lost her family. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "The 21 best movies of 2018," 14 Dec. 2018 Photo: Courtesy of VH1.. Black reality television can be a nonsensical world of petty drama and chaos. refinery29.com, "The Evolution Of LGBTQ+ Representation On This Black Reality Show," 11 June 2018 Ultimately, Brown paints a sympathetic but unsparing portrait of a frustrated intelligence lashing out in petty cruelty at a world that has given her nothing to do with her life. Constance Grady, Vox, "The 16 best books I read in 2018," 21 Dec. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of petty

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for petty

Adjective

Middle English pety small, minor, alteration of petit

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Dictionary Entries near petty

pettiskirt

pettitoes

pettle

petty

Petty

petty average

petty bag

Statistics for petty

Last Updated

18 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for petty

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

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More Definitions for petty

petty

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of petty

: not very important or serious
: relating to things that are not very important or serious
: committing crimes that are not very serious

petty

adjective
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

petty

adjective
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on petty

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with petty

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for petty

Spanish Central: Translation of petty

Nglish: Translation of petty for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of petty for Arabic Speakers

Comments on petty

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