Definition of petty in English:

petty

Syllabification: pet·ty
Pronunciation: /ˈpetē
 
/

adjective (pettier, pettiest)

1Of little importance; trivial: the petty divisions of party politics
More example sentences
  • The workers said the dispute was also about an arrogant management culture and petty rules and regulations.
  • It diminishes the importance of real problems if they are lumped together with petty complaints.
  • Then there are the petty differences in industrial standards and regulations from country to country.
Synonyms
1.1(Of behavior) characterized by an undue concern for trivial matters, especially in a small-minded or spiteful way: he was prone to petty revenge on friends and family
More example sentences
  • Aren't we all, too much into trivial matters and petty thinking and driven by insatiable greed?
  • Call it small minded and petty, or just a harmless example of traditional rivalry, but the majority of Scots will take great pleasure in watching England under-achieve in the Far East.
  • Envy is one of the worst feelings in the world because it's petty and spiteful.
Synonyms
small-minded, mean, ungenerous, shabby, spiteful
2 [attributive] Of secondary or lesser importance, rank, or scale; minor: a petty official
More example sentences
  • Now, I can't even tempt a minor secretarial official with a petty bribe.
  • I don't know what is more extraordinary: the inability of the Labour Party to close down this story or the lengths to which petty party officials will go to undermine their own leader.
  • In the British sphere of influence, however, what the Queen does and says is proper by definition so she does not have to worry about petty would-be dictators.
2.1 Law (Of a crime) of lesser importance: petty theft Compare with grand.
More example sentences
  • Nearly all were poor, young and single convicted for petty crimes, usually theft.
  • Smaller crimes like petty theft, and burglary were common, but not murder.
  • They are beggars, petty thieves and minor dealers.

Origin

late Middle English (in the sense 'small in size'): from a phonetic spelling of the pronunciation of French petit 'small'. Compare with petit.

Derivatives

pettily

Pronunciation: /ˈpetəlē/
adverb
More example sentences
  • While Flores alone was ultimately responsible for his actions, it sounds to me like he was unnecessarily and pettily hounded to a point where he felt he could no longer function.
  • Juan Sara was rather pettily sent off the other week for handling the ball after having proudly flashed his dedication to Jesus, the message to the Almighty he wears on the T-shirt under his Dundee top.
  • When did politics become so pettily intrusive that government agencies think it their business to pontificate on the contents of our children's lunch boxes?

pettiness

Pronunciation: /ˈpetēnəs/
noun
More example sentences
  • Too bad his son inherited his mother's virtues of pettiness and badger-like meanness.
  • None of these parts are one-dimensional; each of them has the capacity for greatness or pettiness, good or evil.
  • There has been endless factional infighting, pettiness and what looks like an alarming level of corruption.

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