Main definitions of pet in US English:

: pet1pet2PET3

pet1

noun

  • 1A domestic or tamed animal kept for companionship or pleasure.

    ‘the pony was a family pet’
    as modifier ‘a pet cat’
    • ‘Now, the centre is home to a whole range of animals, including domestic pets like cats and dogs.’
    • ‘There is also a large aquarium trade, supplying animals both as pets and as food for fish and amphibians.’
    • ‘As the city grows, and cats become more popular as domestic pets, the number of animals living rough increases.’
    • ‘For personnel of the Emergency Rescue Team of the Fire Services and Rescue Department, rescuing pets and domesticated animals is nothing new.’
    • ‘In her words, ‘anyone who has owned and loved a pet would agree that in terms of emotional trauma, watching the death of a pet is akin to losing a close relative.’’
    • ‘Domestic cats are highly valued as pets and as working animals throughout the world.’
    • ‘His pet or ‘companion animal’ has been an essential part of his life.’
    • ‘In our own survey of pet owners nearly three quarters felt that some sort of bereavement support was useful when a pet dies and nearly half said they would be prepared to pay for it.’
    • ‘Keep your birds separate from wild birds, waterfowl, pets and other animals.’
    • ‘I'm not sure if people look like their pets, but you can tell a lot about a person by what they look for in a pet.’
    • ‘Today, over a million pets and farm animals worldwide have RFID tags in or on them, so Rover or Daisy can easily be tracked if they wander off.’
    • ‘Gamekeepers set illegal snares that injure and kill other animals, including foxes, rabbits, and birds of prey - even domestic pets.’
    • ‘Veterinarian Astrid Behr also recommends a bird as a pet rather than a guinea pig or other smaller animal.’
    • ‘And, again, no one should buy birds as a pet unless they're bred domestically.’
    • ‘Be aware that injured animals, even tame pets will bite savagely if given a chance.’
    • ‘Most pets and domesticated animals receive vaccinations against rabies.’
    • ‘Both domestic animals and pets have important roles in our lives.’
    • ‘Domestic pets are the source of most non-insect animal bites.’
    • ‘Cats, fish, and sometimes singing birds are reared as pets by Malay families.’
    • ‘Alternatively, other owners are reluctant to have a pet put to sleep either for religious reasons, or perhaps because that animal is the last link they have with their deceased spouse.’
    1. 1.1 A person treated with special favor, especially in a way that others regard as unfair.
      ‘Liz was teacher's pet’
      as modifier ‘his pet performer was Hollander’
      • ‘[She was] not exactly the teachers' pet, but she did respect the teachers.’
      • ‘Masson may have called MacKinnon ‘Kitty,’ but it is clear who was the pet in that relationship.’
      favourite, darling, the apple of one's eye, idol
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2British Used as an affectionate form of address.
      ‘don't cry, pet, it's all right’
      • ‘I'd like you to choose a card, my pet, and then read out what it says and tell the studio audience and our viewers at home what act you'll be performing for us this evening in our star turn final.’
      • ‘‘Welcome to St. Vincent, pet,’ Nick side, stretching out and arm to the scene below.’
      • ‘And when you have something to say that comes anywhere near an opinion, keep it to yourself, pet!’
      • ‘Ask them to help you cross the road, or to take you down to the post office, or to put the kettle on, pet.’
      • ‘‘Best not to anger the boss, pet,’ he said, then reached down to give her a light kiss before rising to his feet.’

adjective

  • Denoting a thing that one devotes special attention to or feels particularly strongly about.

    ‘another of her pet projects was the arts center’
    ‘my pet hate is bad telephone manners’

verb

[with object]
  • 1Stroke or pat (an animal) affectionately.

    ‘the cats came to be petted’
    • ‘He's not the kind of dog that will let you pet him, but with the people he knows and trusts, he's clingy.’
    • ‘The kitten looks glad at the attention, but seems more interested at Mierre than at the hand petting her.’
    • ‘She pet her cat affectionately and turned on the TV while she waited for Brett to come home from work.’
    • ‘I picked him up, placed him on my lap and wrapped the towel around him, murmuring sweet things to him, petting him.’
    • ‘Joann tried to keep herself from laughing when she noticed the raven's look, meanwhile continuing to pet the mare, stroking the animal's chestnut hip.’
    • ‘I don't pet her too much, as I've already worked out that there's only so much petting a pet can handle before it runs off again.’
    • ‘Placed on the aluminium table, the kitten is petted, briefly, to reduce the shivering, and then, with four tiny ‘miuw!’’
    • ‘Valia shook her head in confusion and started to pet her canine companion.’
    • ‘We stayed there for about 20 minutes, talking to him and petting him, scratching him behind his ears and neck.’
    • ‘A little dog tied up outside of Chin's is lonely, but people stop now and then to pet him and tell him how cute he is.’
    • ‘She smiled softly, petting her cat Sea Monkey gently.’
    • ‘There is a dog who barks unless she is petted continuously, so people take turns petting her.’
    • ‘I got up and went to pet her but she was having none of it, pulled back, turned, and darted back into the airing cupboard again.’
    • ‘Heather was sitting on the floor across from Dan petting the family's old blood hound.’
    • ‘Do not look at, talk to, pet, feed, play or let out your dog or cat when it is in the act of misbehaving.’
    • ‘And there was a beautiful doe that put her head through the wire fence so I could pet her, never mind that she didn't like the grass I had picked for her.’
    • ‘She loves attention, and loves to lick your hand when you pet her.’
    • ‘The Prince started to pet his horse, stroking the hair gently with almost some humanity.’
    • ‘Clouseau bends down to pet the dog and it growls and bites him.’
    • ‘And if you don't believe it's therapeutic to pet a dog, then you haven't given it a good try.’
    stroke, caress, fondle, pat
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Treat (someone) with affection or favoritism; pamper.
      ‘I was cosseted and petted and never shouted at’
      • ‘She had been petting Roy who was sleeping next to her, but when Tony sat down he took her hand in hers.’
      • ‘He takes a look towards his mother, who is fuming, but petting Jeremy on the head.’
      • ‘She said that at the end of the school day Jack makes his way to the playground where he is petted and spoilt by the children.’
      • ‘Ian's eyes opened lethargically, Susan said nothing and Geneva did not cease gawking at him, Calypso jumped from her arms after Geneva stopped petting her.’
      • ‘Cael was silent a moment, just petting Sam, before he slowly shifted to sit on the edge of the bed.’
      pamper, spoil, mollycoddle, coddle, cosset, baby, indulge, overindulge, dote on, wrap in cotton wool, feather-bed, overparent
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2no object Engage in sexually stimulating caressing and touching.
      ‘couples necking and petting in the cars’
      • ‘From kissing in the back stalls of the local picture theatre, they graduated to petting on the front seats of parked cars.’
      • ‘It all depends on what the intentions are and if there are also other things going on like: kissing, petting, romantic conversation, or commitments involved.’
      • ‘They reported a significant increase in sexual activity, such as kissing and petting, among male participants when compared with the control group.’
      kiss and cuddle, kiss, cuddle, embrace, caress
      View synonyms

Origin

Early 16th century (as a noun; originally Scots and northern English): of unknown origin.

Pronunciation

pet

/pɛt//pet/

Main definitions of pet in US English:

: pet1pet2PET3

pet2

noun

  • A fit of sulking or ill humor.

    ‘Mother's in a pet’
    • ‘Women get all in a pet that Sorenstam doesn't receive the adulation Tiger Woods does.’
    bad mood, mood, bad temper, temper, sulk, fit of the sulks, ill temper, ill humour, fit of pique, huff, tantrum
    View synonyms

Origin

Late 16th century: of unknown origin.

Pronunciation

pet

/pɛt//pet/

Main definitions of pet in US English:

: pet1pet2PET3

PET3

abbreviation

  • 1Polyethylene terephthalate.

  • 2Positron emission tomography, used especially for brain scans.

Pronunciation

PET

/pet/