petty Definition

  • 1of little importance; trivial
  • 2of secondary or lesser importance, rank, or scale
  • 3mean-spirited and ungenerous in small or trifling ways

Using petty: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "petty" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    The dispute was over a petty issue.

  • Example

    She was accused of stealing petty cash from the company.

  • Example

    He was always getting into petty arguments with his coworkers.

petty Synonyms and Antonyms

Idioms Using petty

  • a slow and steady pace, often used in reference to death or dying


    He walked with a petty pace towards his inevitable end.

  • a lawyer who deals with trivial or minor legal matters


    He was a petty fogger who made a living by representing clients in small claims court.

  • a person who exercises power or authority in a small or petty way, often to the detriment of others


    He was a petty tyrant who enjoyed bossing around his subordinates.

Phrases with petty

  • a small amount of cash kept on hand for minor expenses


    I need to get some petty cash from the accountant to buy office supplies.

  • a noncommissioned officer in the navy or coast guard ranking above a seaman apprentice and below a chief petty officer


    He was promoted to petty officer after serving for three years in the navy.

  • the lower middle class, especially when regarded as consisting of small business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals


    The petty bourgeoisie played a significant role in the economic development of the country.

Origins of petty

from Old French 'petit', meaning 'small'


Summary: petty in Brief

The term 'petty' [ˈpɛti] refers to things of little importance or significance, often trivial or minor. It can also describe mean-spirited or ungenerous behavior in small or trifling ways, as in 'He was always getting into petty arguments with his coworkers.' 'Petty' extends into phrases like 'petty cash,' and idioms like 'a petty pace,' denoting a slow and steady pace, often used in reference to death or dying.

How do native speakers use this expression?