from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Querulous or discontented.
  • adj. Ill-tempered.
  • adj. Contrary; fractious.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Constantly complaining; fretful, whining.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Habitually fretful; easily vexed or fretted; hard to please; apt to complain; querulous; petulant.
  • adj. Expressing fretfulness and discontent, or unjustifiable dissatisfaction.
  • adj. Silly; childish; trifling.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Querulous; petulant; ill-tempered; cross; fitful.
  • Perverse; self-willed; forward; testy.
  • Characterized by or indicating discontent, petulancy, or fretfulness.
  • Childish; silly; foolish; trifling.
  • Synonyms Fretful, Pettish, etc. (see petulant), ill-natured, testy, irritable, waspish.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. easily irritated or annoyed


Middle English pevish, possibly from Latin perversus, past participle of perversus; see perverse.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Late 14th century peyvesshe "capricious, silly", perhaps a corruption of Latin perversus "perverted". The meaning "fretful" develops in the 16th century. (Wiktionary)



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