Definition of petulant in English:



  • (of a person or their manner) childishly sulky or bad-tempered.

    ‘he was moody and petulant’
    ‘a petulant shake of the head’
    • ‘After all, she is a teenage girl and they tend to be somewhat melodramatic, whiny and petulant.’
    • ‘He had his arms folded and was sneering like a petulant brat.’
    • ‘Like a petulant child you indulged your temper, but you did so using that most dangerous of weapons, a car.’
    • ‘The film reveals him as a petulant child, given absolute authority!’
    • ‘By midnight, he was pouting like a petulant kid being kept after school.’
    • ‘It's all because I am consumed by trying to make it work right away, like some petulant child.’
    • ‘His reputation is that he's only interested in winning and that he's a petulant loser.’
    • ‘They were so refreshing compared to the petulant teenagers she was around all morning.’
    • ‘He was petulant all day and was earlier booked for mouthing-off at the referee.’
    • ‘Sometimes she reminds me of a petulant child holding its breath to get its way.’
    • ‘I cycled off, leaving him to glower after me like a petulant teenager.’
    • ‘Though personally brave, he was petulant and totally lacking in judgement - a mere shooting star.’
    • ‘This all makes for incredibly depressing viewing, not helped by Pfeiffer's petulant, sulky, scowling presence.’
    • ‘She's as assertive and capable as he is petulant and out of his element.’
    • ‘Mattie had come in like some petulant kid and thrown himself in a corner.’
    • ‘At the same time, he was given to sobbing and rages like a petulant child.’
    • ‘But now he was behaving like a petulant child and she simply could not imagine what had gotten into him.’
    • ‘Iaina pouted, resembling a petulant child instead of the full grown woman she was.’
    • ‘I can also become unpleasant and then behave like a petulant child.’
    • ‘They can simultaneously be revered as heroes on the park and behave like petulant children in the street.’
    complaining, pettish, touchy, testy, tetchy, waspish, prickly, crusty, peppery, fractious, fretful, irritable, cross, crabbed, crabby, crotchety, cantankerous, curmudgeonly, disagreeable, miserable, morose, on edge, edgy, impatient, bitter, moody, in a bad mood, grumpy, huffy, scratchy, out of sorts, out of temper, ill-tempered, bad-tempered, ill-natured, ill-humoured, sullen, surly, sulky, sour, churlish, bilious, liverish, dyspeptic, splenetic, choleric
    peevish, bad-tempered, ill-tempered, pettish, cross, impatient, irritable, moody, in a bad mood, sulky, snappish, crotchety, touchy, waspish, irascible, tetchy, testy, querulous, fractious, captious, cantankerous, grumpy, complaining, whiny, fretful, huffish, huffy, pouty, disgruntled, crabbed, crabby, ill-humoured
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Late 16th century (in the sense ‘immodest’): from French pétulant, from Latin petulant- ‘impudent’ (related to petere ‘aim at, seek’). The current sense (mid 18th century) is influenced by pettish.