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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
petty bourgeois
petty cash
petty crime (=crime that is not very serious)
▪ Immigrants were blamed for the increase in petty crime.
petty jealousydisapproving (= jealousy about unimportant things)
▪ He quickly discovered the petty jealousies and gossip of village life.
petty larceny
petty officer
petty restrictions (=that seem unreasonable and unnecessary)
▪ The removal of petty restrictions has made it much easier to do business.
petty theft (=the stealing of something that is not very valuable)
▪ There had been a rash of petty thefts in the hotel.
petty thieves (=thieves who steal small things)
▪ They were nothing but petty thieves.
petty (=unreasonable rules about unimportant things)
▪ There are hundreds of petty rules.
▪ An alliance between workers, peasants and petty bourgeoisie necessitates a bureaucratic authoritarian regime. 2.
▪ I had better go now and pay my respects to the petty bourgeoisie.
▪ Apart from farmers, even the old petty bourgeoisie have grown or remained stable as a proportion of the labour force.
▪ We now have to buy it from our petty cash.
▪ This is not a buck here or a buck there in the petty cash till.
▪ Completion and interpretation of petty cash transactions. 3 Materials and Stationery Use and control; methods of economy.
▪ They are entered in the petty cash book.
▪ These items are usually paid for out of the petty cash.
▪ If you work in retailing, you may be asked to look after the petty cash.
▪ Borrowing money from colleagues at work, petty cash, or from neighbours is a fast way of making yourself unpopular.
▪ In other words, it seemed that as petty commodity traders these marketwomen were often unable even to reproduce their present conditions.
▪ Marx himself might have viewed these small-scale marketers as resembling petty commodity producers more than petty capitalists.
▪ As the years had progressed a series of petty crimes had seen him in remand homes, borstals and finally prison.
▪ Johnson had two prior convictions for residential burglaries and a history of petty crimes.
▪ He has convictions there for a number of theft and similar petty crime offences since leaving St Patrick's.
▪ How do three-strikers endure the thought of spending life in prison for a relatively petty crime?
▪ If the government no longer differentiates between petty crime and murder, why should they?
▪ Stretched to the limit ... police chief says petty crime is going unchecked.
▪ There's petty crime and crime on a grand scale, well organised.
▪ Before they met me, Steve and Paul were just petty criminals, didn't know nothing about nothing.
▪ Amongst them were pickpockets, alcoholics, pimps, drug peddlers and other petty criminals.
▪ Over the years several have been the victim of petty criminals.
▪ The sudden rivalries and petty jealousies.
▪ Her petty jealousy and deep ambivalence about Dickinson explode through her schoolmarm prose.
▪ Athelstan watched the scene around him and tried to keep his mind free of Benedicta and the petty jealousies which nagged him.
▪ This bitter struggle was personified by the Soong family, for years rent by political differences and petty jealousies.
▪ You can earn advancement to leading cook and then to petty officer cook or caterer.
▪ That other sailor was later identified as Jonathan Rushin, a 23-year-old petty officer third class.
▪ He knew nothing about drill, but learned the necessary movements from books and soon gained promotion to chief petty officer.
▪ A petty officer, his wife and three incredibly well-behaved children were first.
▪ In all, four sailors were punished and three petty officers, including Wait, were removed from the Salt Lake City.
▪ Mine hunting director petty officer Simmo Simmons calls up the image on to his table screen.
▪ The vast majority were, for example, petty thefts, acts of vandalism, and minor assaults.
▪ They had petty thefts of eggs or a chicken, but no robbery.
▪ There had been a rash of petty thefts in the hotel and we were all warned to be vigilant.
▪ My background is petty theft and liquor store holdups and the usual drug junk.
▪ In contrast, petty theft has a very low rate of reporting to the police, and a low detection rate.
▪ So, you see, even these minor distinctions felt like petty theft.
▪ This will tend to incline them toward petty theft.
▪ In the dry parlance of a police report, it was nothing more than a petty theft.
▪ Most burglaries are the work of petty thieves on the look our for an easy opportunity.
▪ Habitual petty thieves and drug addicts dumped on top of their already bulging caseload become their newest clients.
▪ a petty personal attack
▪ Sometimes he can be so petty about money.
▪ The meeting spent too much time on petty issues, and didn't address the real problem.
▪ We started having arguments over petty little things.
▪ And how petty those ambitions were, really, besides my family's happiness.
▪ But we kept pushing forward and we fought fair and we tried not to be petty.
▪ I was too defiant to return to such an art school, so cramped, so bunged up with petty authority.
▪ So can a person caged in corporate life begin to assume huge anxieties about petty annoyances.
▪ The new courts were designed to relieve police courts of petty offences.
▪ The sudden rivalries and petty jealousies.
▪ This isn't about some petty artistic vendetta.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Petty \Pet"ty\, a. [Compar. Pettier; superl. Pettiest.] [OE. petit, F. petit; probably of Celtic origin, and akin to E. piece. Cf. Petit.] Little; trifling; inconsiderable; also, inferior; subordinate; as, a petty fault; a petty prince.

Like a petty god I walked about, admired of all.

Petty averages. See under Average.

Petty cash, money expended or received in small items or amounts.

Petty officer, a subofficer in the navy, as a gunner, etc., corresponding to a noncommissionned officer in the army.

Note: For petty constable, petty jury, petty larceny, petty treason, See Petit.

Syn: Little; diminutive; inconsiderable; inferior; trifling; trivial; unimportant; frivolous.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

late 14c., "small," from phonemic spelling of Old French petit "small" (see petit). In English, not originally disparaging (as still in petty cash, 1834; petty officer, 1570s). Meaning "of small importance" is recorded from 1520s; that of "small-minded" is from 1580s. Related: Pettily; pettiness. An old name for "Northern Lights" was petty dancers.


a. 1 (context obsolete except in set phrases English) little, small, secondary in rank or importance. 2 insignificant, trifling, or inconsiderable. 3 narrow-minded, small-minded.

  1. adj. inferior in rank or status; "the junior faculty"; "a lowly corporal"; "petty officialdom"; "a subordinate functionary" [syn: junior-grade, inferior, lower, lower-ranking, lowly, petty(a), secondary, subaltern, subordinate]

  2. (informal terms) small and of little importance; "a fiddling sum of money"; "a footling gesture"; "our worries are lilliputian compared with those of countries that are at war"; "a little (or small) matter"; "Mickey Mouse regulations"; "a dispute over niggling details"; "limited to petty enterprises"; "piffling efforts"; "giving a police officer a free meal may be against the law, but it seems to be a picayune infraction" [syn: fiddling, footling, lilliputian, little, Mickey Mouse, niggling, piddling, piffling, picayune, trivial]

  3. contemptibly narrow in outlook; "petty little comments"; "disgusted with their small-minded pettiness" [syn: small-minded]

  4. [also: pettiest, pettier]


Petty may refer to:

Usage examples of "petty".

It was all amazingly petty, no doubt, but what was there remaining for me to do?

Its author was already so thoroughly anathematized that further curses from eternal Rome would seem petty.

There, in the eyes of his former compadres, he was apotheosized from a rural campesino into a nuevo rico who claimed he could buy the entire landscape of his birth, its petty aristocrats, snobs and bigwigs thrown in for good measure.

Simon had all the more opportunity of shining at the bar in the arrondissement of Arcis because he was the only barrister, solicitors pleading their own cases in these petty localities.

The common man, busied about his petty concerns, did not know nor think about collective affairs because at the time there existed no knowledge or ordered thought in an assimilable form to reach down and stimulate his mind.

Acceptance of autocracy, of blind obedience to the petty tyrants who ruled as princes, became ingrained in the German mind.

The prince led the way indoors, and they were heartily welcomed by the queen, who kept no more state at Bearn than would be observed by any petty nobleman in France.

While the female sits close, the male perches on top of the nest, occasionally beguiling the time by inconsequent repairs and petty squabbles with next door neighbours.

In another part of the ship, Petty Officer First Class Sheldon Bonner stripped to his skivvies and lay back on his rack, an envelope in his left hand.

Treger in turn would convince Brassard that he had better rackets under his thumb than petty larceny.

Nothing could be a greater burlesque upon the negotiation than this treaty of alliance concluded with the petty duke of Wolfenbuttle, who very gravely guarantees to his Britannic majesty the possession of his three kingdoms, and obliges himself to supply his majesty with five thousand men, in consideration of an annual subsidy of five-andtwenty thousand pounds for four years.

Calabria wheedling, remonstrating, cajoling and patronizing the new master by turns, now for his misguided notions of fairness in dealing with the striking miners, now for the uses of influence in getting ahead, breaking off for a highly theatrical interlude of mugging and arson and here came the playful glissando again as new comic possibilities emerged in the parade of petty thieves, rumpots, fugitives from wives and creditors and a brace of Chippewa Indians being cursorily questioned, pummeled, browbeaten, paid and fleeced as recruits for the Union army by the mine manager in his time away from raising stores of vermifuges, decorative sabres, trusses and mule feed cut with sand in the patriotic cause.

Peter Horry had been engaged in a series of petty but rather amusing skirmishes, in the neighborhood of Georgetown.

They helped feed and clothe the castoffs, undesirables, and petty criminals excised from Kundalan society, who lived high in the icebound reaches of the Djenn Marre under crushing physical conditions.

That petty officers with records as martinets and incompetents are suddenly promoted to quadrant leaders?