• WordNet 3.6
    • adj petulant 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
    • Petulant Capriciously fretful; characterized by ill-natured freakishness; irritable. "Petulant moods."
    • Petulant Forward; pert; insolent; wanton.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • petulant Manifesting peevish impatience, irritation, or caprice; peevishly pert or saucy; peevish; capricious: said of persons or things: as, a petulant youth; a petulant answer.
    • petulant Synonyms Petulant, Peevish, Fretful, Pettish, Cross, irritable, irascible, ill-humored, snappish, crusty, choleric. The first five words apply to an ill-governed temper or its manifestation. Petulant expresses a quick impatience, often of a temporary or capricious sort, with bursts of feeling. Peevish expresses that which is more permanent in character, more frequent in manifestation, more sour, and more an evidence of weakness. Fretful applies to one who is soon vexed, of a discontented disposition, or ready to complain, as a sick child. Pettish implies that the impatience, vexation, or testiness is over matters so small that the mood is peculiarly undignified or unworthy. Cross applies especially to the temper, but often to permanent character: as, a cross dog; it often includes anger or sulkiness. Crossness as a mood may be more quiet than the others. See captious.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Petulant pet′ū-lant showing peevish impatience, irritation, or caprice: forward, impudent in manner
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  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “The faces of most American women over thirty are relief maps of petulant and bewildered unhappiness.”
  • Jeremy Taylor
    “Nothing is greater or more fearful sacrilege than to prostitute the great name of God to the petulancy of an idle tongue.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. petulans, -antis, prop., making slight attacks upon, from a lost dim. of petere, to fall upon, to attack: cf. F. pétulant,. See Petition
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. petulans, -antis—obs. petulāre, dim. of petĕre, to fall upon.


In literature:

I believe I was guilty of a petulance, which nothing but my uneasy situation can excuse; if that can.
"Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)" by Samuel Richardson
In conversation their voice is raised to a high pitch, or assumes a whining, petulant tone.
"The Long Labrador Trail" by Dillon Wallace
Even in that short time, a year passed, and, with a petulant gesture, I left the window.
"The House on the Borderland" by William Hope Hodgson
He pouts and kicks and teases like a petulant child.
"Happiness and Marriage" by Elizabeth (Jones) Towne
I say nothing of the petulant intemperance with which he dares to insult the venerable establishments of his country.
"Life Of Johnson, Volume 4 (of 6)" by Boswell
The company made a petulant rejoinder, when circumstances put an end to the dispute.
"The Real America in Romance, Volume 6;" by John R. Musick
No, not for the world; what man of sense would bear the insolences, the petulances, the expensiveness of a wife!
"Clarissa, Volume 4 (of 9)" by Samuel Richardson
Carlyle makes us almost love this man, in spite of his awkwardness, dogmatism, and petulance.
"Beacon Lights of History, Volume XIII" by John Lord
A laughter with a petulant spleen.
"The Anatomy of Melancholy" by Democritus Junior
Silk, with sudden petulance; "leastways, I'd rather not be," she added, softening.
"At Sunwich Port, Part 5." by W.W. Jacobs

In poetry:

I am sister to the rain;
Fey and sudden and unholy,
Petulant at the windowpane,
Quickly lost, remembered slowly.
"Rainy Night" by Dorothy Parker
Petulant imps of light,
What whisper or gleam or elfin-wild perfumes
Thrilled through the night
And drew you to this hive of rosy bloom?
"The Humming Birds" by Alfred Noyes
But hush!—from this auspicious hour
The world, I ween, may rest in peace,
And, robb'd of darts, and stript of power,
Thy peevish petulance decrease.
"Anacreontic" by William Shenstone
"While he, perhaps, with larger eyne,
Was pleased, instead of vexed, at seeing
Some little petulance in mine,
And loved me all the more, for being;
Not too divine.
"Mount Arafa" by Richard Doddridge Blackmore
But Winter after Autumn comes and stills
The petulant waters and the wild mind fills
With silence; and the dark and cold are bitter,
O, bitter to remember past days sweeter.
"I Have Never Loved You Yet" by John Freeman
Vain at the festive bar still lingered the people of Angels,
Hearing afar in the woods the petulant pop of the pistol;
Never again returned the Crested Jay Hawk of the mountains,
Never again was seen the Bald-headed Snipe of the Valley.
"Thompson Of Angels" by Francis Bret Harte

In news:

Rutgers University, the flagship university in a state known for ruthless mob bosses, petulant reality show stars and cutthroat drivers, is launching a two-year project to get people - at least those on campus - to behave better.
Petulant politicians wage war on Florida courts.
Talented but petulant driver signs with Furniture Row Racing for 2013.
President Petulant Obama makes Berkeley liberals look like statesmen.
Forte seems petulant as contract talks drag on.
Glitter Bombers Act Like Petulant Children.
This time, the petulance could not prevent an outbreak of reason on the Senate floor.
Numbers are great, but moodiness and petulance often overshadowed his talent.
His latest act of protest, or petulance (whichever word you prefer) is to put a President Obama figurine in a jar of "pee" and sell it on eBay for $25,000, according to the N.Y.
Mitt Romney to release additional tax returns, we can't help but wonder if he is the only person on the planet who doesn't know how his petulant game of keep-away is going to end.
He got the first debate's wakeup call while Mitt Romney let the encounter in Denver mislead him into confusing petulance with strength.
Tennessee education officials actually lived up to their petulant threat to withhold $3.4 million from Nashville public schools as punishment for refusing to allow a controversial charter school to open.
The petulant children known as the Occupy Wall Street crowd are back, and this time they're vowing direct action and civil disobedience, including blocking bridges, on May Day.
Jay will be inactively petulant.
An infectious blend of grown-up sass and kidlike petulance, "Whip My Hair" is the rare song by a preteenager to be embraced across demographic lines, something not achieved even by the most famous Disney acts.