[ UK /pˈɛti/ ]
[ US /ˈpɛˌti/ ]
  1. inferior in rank or status
    petty officialdom
    a subordinate functionary
    the junior faculty
    a lowly corporal
  2. (informal) small and of little importance
    our worries are lilliputian compared with those of countries that are at war
    giving a police officer a free meal may be against the law, but it seems to be a picayune infraction
    a little (or small) matter
    limited to petty enterprises
    a fiddling sum of money
    piffling efforts
    piffling efforts
    a footling gesture
    a dispute over niggling details
  3. contemptibly narrow in outlook
    disgusted with their small-minded pettiness
    petty little comments
  1. larceny of property having a value less than some amount (the amount varies by locale)
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How To Use petty In A Sentence

  • This is the very definition of obstructionism: To delay a foregone conclusion for the sake of a petty protest.
  • Most often, this implies a life on city streets begging, panhandling, petty theft, and using charity and soup kitchens close to the drug source.
  • The sad fact is that if the Democrats had tried to make a big issue of the matter the press would have criticized them unmercifully for spoiling the 100th birthday celebrations of a great man with their petty partisan politics.
  • Its images tumble, proliferate and cross-hatch; they are extravagant and loopy and defiantly enormous in their ambition, making everything else look petty and piddling.
  • One of the biggest dangers to commuters at the time was the constant threat of pickpockets and other petty thieves preying upon unsuspecting victims.
  • He successfully reframed the issue as being not about petty internal rules, but instead the little man standing up against the big political machine.
  • As a long-time B-list critic and junketeer, my conscience has long been inured to the petty scams of the Golden Globes voter shoving another complimentary cream puff into his craw. House of Scams and Fog, Or How to Break Into Your Own Apartment
  • The ranks of nonconformity thrived in an expanding economy of independency where the artisan might still feel closer to the petty capitalist than to the unskilled labourer.
  • When the cup of human life is so overflowing with woe and pain and misery, it seems to me a narrow dilettanteism or downright charlatanism to devote one's self to petty or bizarre problems which can have no relation to human happiness, and to prate of self-satisfaction and self-expression. Woman Her Sex and Love Life
  • But others, founding their assertions upon more plausible reasoning, say that the petty Mussulman kings, who were the neighbours or tributaries of Benabad, justly alarmed at his alliance with a {93} Christian king, solicited the support of the Almoravide. History of the Moors of Spain
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