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Definition pet

Etymology 1

Attested since the 1500s in the sense "indulged child" and since the 1530s in the sense "animal companion". From Scots and dialectal Northern English, of unclear origin. Perhaps a back-formation of petty, pety (“little, small”), a term formerly used to describe children and animals (e.g. pet lambs). Alternatively, perhaps a borrowing of Scottish Gaelic peata, from Old Irish petta, peta (“pet, lap-dog”), of uncertain (possibly pre-Proto-Indo-European) origin. Compare peat (“pet, darling, woman”).

The verb is derived from the noun.


pet (plural pets)

  1. An animal kept as a companion.
  2. (by extension) Something kept as a companion, including inanimate objects. (pet rock, pet plant, etc.)
  3. One who is excessively loyal to a superior.
  4. Any person or animal especially cherished and indulged; a darling.

pet (third-person singular simple present pets, present participle petting, simple past and past participle petted or (nonstandard) pet)

  1. (transitive) To stroke or fondle (an animal).
  2. (transitive, informal) To stroke or fondle (another person) amorously.
  3. (intransitive, informal) Of two or more people, to stroke and fondle one another amorously.
  4. (dated, transitive) To treat as a pet; to fondle; to indulge.
  5. (archaic, intransitive) To be a pet.
  6. (archaic, intransitive) To be peevish; to sulk.

pet (not comparable)

  1. Favourite; cherished.
  2. Kept or treated as a pet.

Etymology 2

Clipping of petulance.


pet (plural pets)

  1. A fit of petulance, a sulk, arising from the impression that one has been offended or slighted.

Etymology 3

Clipping of petition.


pet (plural pets)

  1. Abbreviation of petition.

Etymology 4

Clipping of petal.


pet (plural pets)

  1. (Geordie) A term of endearment usually applied to women and children.

Results 100 Words with the letters PET

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10 letter words with the letters PET 

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