• WordNet 3.6
    • adj peevish easily irritated or annoyed "an incorrigibly fractious young man","not the least nettlesome of his countrymen"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Peevish Expressing fretfulness and discontent, or unjustifiable dissatisfaction; as, a peevish answer.
    • Peevish Habitually fretful; easily vexed or fretted; hard to please; apt to complain; querulous; petulant. "Her peevish babe.""She is peevish , sullen, froward."
    • Peevish Silly; childish; trifling. "To send such peevish tokens to a king."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • peevish Querulous; petulant; ill-tempered; cross; fitful.
    • peevish Perverse; self-willed; forward; testy.
    • peevish Characterized by or indicating discontent, petulancy, or fretfulness.
    • peevish Childish; silly; foolish; trifling.
    • peevish Synonyms Fretful, Pettish, etc. (see petulant), ill-natured, testy, irritable, waspish.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Peevish pēv′ish habitually fretful: easily annoyed: hard to please: showing ill-nature: childish
    • ***


  • Desiderius Erasmus
    “Nothing is as peevish and pedantic as men's judgments of one another.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. pevische,; of uncertain origin, perh. from a word imitative of the noise made by fretful children + -ish,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Prob. imit. of the puling of fretful infants.


In literature:

Harrison seemed a little peevish, but consented to try again.
"Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 152, March 28, 1917" by Various
In spite of his peevishness her husband may be trying hard to minimize his defects and be a reasonable, helpful companion.
"Epilepsy, Hysteria, and Neurasthenia" by Isaac G. Briggs
He brooded over it so much that he lost his appetite and grew cross and peevish.
"Mother West Wind 'Why' Stories" by Thornton W. Burgess
At such times it peevishly darts out its little sting, like a young snake angry with a farmer's boot.
"Prose Fancies" by Richard Le Gallienne
Trials sour their minds and render them morose and peevish.
"Sermons on Various Important Subjects" by Andrew Lee
But a single word, however lightly spoken, served to turn him back to peevishness.
"The Colossus" by Opie Read
This man ran away with a large sum of money, leaving the colonel embarassed, which fact made him very fretful and peevish.
"My Life In The South" by Jacob Stroyer
I stayed there a moment to wipe my forehead and slap peevishly at my accompanying swarm of flies.
"The Jervaise Comedy" by J. D. Beresford
Though his wife was very peevish, and hard to please, I much preferred to be under her control than the overseer's.
"The Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave" by William Wells Brown
I had become arrogant, peevish, and above all suspicious.
"Mathilda" by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

In poetry:

When peevish flaws his soul have stirred
To fretful tears for crossed desires,
Obedient to his mother's word
My child to banishment retires.
"The Pinafore" by George MacDonald
If th' childer wod nobbut complain,
Or Bessy get peevish an tart,
Aw could put up wi th' anguish or pain,
But ther kindness is braikin mi heart.
"Lamentin' An Repentin'" by John Hartley
A FEMALE relative young Cleon had,
A peevish prude, who looked upon the lad,
As one she had a right to rule and scold;
Her name was Mistress Alice: sour and old.
"A Confidant Without Knowing It; Or The Stratagem" by Jean de La Fontaine
Then fear not I should e'er rebel,
My gentle love! I might as well
A forward peevishness put on,
And quarrel with the mid-day sun;
Or question who gave him a right
To be so fiery and so bright.
"An Attempt At The Manner Of Waller" by William Cowper
'Tis of your blood I would be drinking,
To your soft shrilling listening now,
And your thin fingers peering through
At the deep forests of the sky.
O satisfy my peevish thought past thinking,
My sense with your sense linking.
"Grasses" by John Freeman
I do not turn with sighs and groans
To ease my limbs, to rest my bones,
As if my bed were stuffed with stones,
No peevish murmur tips my tongue —
Ah no! for every sound upflung
Says: "Lad, you're free and strong and young."
"Insomnia" by Robert W Service

In news:

A title track peevishly protesting lost privacy.
Mitt Romney's Peevish , Prickly Debate Flop.
Peevish over health care paperwork.
Does A Peevish Roberts Dissent Say Anything About Obamacare.
Peevish Humorless Feminist Edition.
Mitt Romney's Peevish, Prickly Debate Flop.
One peevish misconception about who's making out like a bandit.
Our film critic is a bit peevish, having never been asked to participate in the poll.