petty

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Middle French petit, English since the late 14th century. The disparaging meaning developed over the 16th century.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

petty ‎(comparative pettier or more petty, superlative pettiest or most petty)

  1. (obsolete except in set phrases) Little, small, secondary in rank or importance.
    Like a petty god I walked about, admired of all. (Milton, Samson Agonistes, 1671)
    petty officer, petty cash
  2. Insignificant, trifling, or inconsiderable.
    a petty fault
  3. Narrow-minded, small-minded.

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Noun[edit]

petty ‎(plural petties)

  1. (chiefly in the plural, obsolete) A little schoolboy, either in grade or size.
  2. (now historical) A class or school for young schoolboys.
  3. (dialect, euphemistic) An outhouse: an outbuilding used as a lavatory.

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