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’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘Though personally brave, he was petulant and totally lacking in judgement - a mere shooting star.’
    • ‘He was petulant all day and was earlier booked for mouthing-off at the referee.’
    • ‘But now he was behaving like a petulant child and she simply could not imagine what had gotten into him.’
    • ‘It's all because I am consumed by trying to make it work right away, like some petulant child.’
    • ‘Sometimes she reminds me of a petulant child holding its breath to get its way.’
    • ‘Mattie had come in like some petulant kid and thrown himself in a corner.’
    • ‘His reputation is that he's only interested in winning and that he's a petulant loser.’
    • ‘I cycled off, leaving him to glower after me like a petulant teenager.’
    • ‘They were so refreshing compared to the petulant teenagers she was around all morning.’
    • ‘This all makes for incredibly depressing viewing, not helped by Pfeiffer's petulant, sulky, scowling presence.’
    • ‘After all, she is a teenage girl and they tend to be somewhat melodramatic, whiny and petulant.’
    • ‘I can also become unpleasant and then behave like a petulant child.’
    • ‘She's as assertive and capable as he is petulant and out of his element.’
    • ‘Iaina pouted, resembling a petulant child instead of the full grown woman she was.’
    • ‘At the same time, he was given to sobbing and rages like a petulant child.’
    • ‘By midnight, he was pouting like a petulant kid being kept after school.’
    • ‘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
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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.