Definition of peccadillo in US English:



  • A small, relatively unimportant offense or sin.

    • ‘It's true, and there are tons of similarly gossipy tales of women's sexual peccadilloes and the embarrassments of ambition.’
    • ‘The heroine's honour is unjustly impugned, but her alleged crime is such a peccadillo that the emotions associated with it seem ludicrously overblown.’
    • ‘This title will first have caused painstaking inquiry into my past, the peccadillos and all.’
    • ‘History has usually forgiven presidents their sexual peccadilloes, and the list of American leaders who have been accused of sexual misconduct, in or out of office, is a long one.’
    • ‘A series of minor government ministers was involved in a variety of sexual peccadilloes and had to resign.’
    • ‘In the glow of their log fire, fortified by coffee and cognac, I deliberately steered the conversation towards the peccadilloes of awkward neighbours.’
    • ‘Tabloid newspapers have always printed tawdry tales of public figures' peccadilloes, but it hasn't dominated discussion in the same way.’
    • ‘The excruciating embarrassment of finding one's personal peccadillos exposed to public scrutiny makes kiss-and-tell the perfect vengeance-fodder.’
    • ‘And besides, other nations, such as the French, don't get so worked up about the peccadilloes of the famous.’
    • ‘She is known for racy novels and short stories about what she sees as the secret sexual peccadilloes of regular women - housewives, businesswomen, sorority sisters.’
    • ‘Their sexual peccadillos, family differences and even flaws of personal character were commonly regarded as their own business, not the public's.’
    • ‘But rather all my insecurities and peccadilloes from the past came rushing back to haunt me.’
    • ‘Most peccadillos are as harmless as hobbies.’
    • ‘Her quest leads her into the clutches of others who are eager to use her to satisfy their own sexual peccadillos.’
    • ‘The company also tries to find out about any client preferences beforehand - not their sexual peccadilloes, but things that might add more spice to the experience.’
    • ‘Hanna does not overlook Britten's peccadilloes.’
    • ‘Over the years I have certainly committed somewhat more than my share of peccadilloes and outright sins.’
    • ‘True to its tabloid format, it has always been strong on exposure of their sexual peccadilloes, of which there are many.’
    • ‘A serious lie is told to cover a minor peccadillo.’
    • ‘Suddenly stories about pop stars and their legal troubles or sexual peccadilloes were no longer relegated to the women's pages.’
    misdemeanour, minor offence, petty offence, delinquency
    View synonyms


Late 16th century: from Spanish pecadillo, diminutive of pecado ‘sin’, from Latin peccare ‘to sin’.