petty

Petty used to mean just "petite" or "small," but now it's used for things that are trivial and shouldn’t matter much. If you host world leaders and spend more time picking napkins than memorizing names, you're focused on petty things.

A few neutral meanings of petty are still in use today — such as "petty cash," which refers to a small amount of cash on hand — but most uses of petty since the 16th century are negative, as in "narrow-minded," "trivial," and "of little importance." A "petty argument" is a popular expression, because many people get all worked up over something that isn't very important — a petty concern — that seems much smaller after the heat of the moment.

Primary Meanings of petty

1.
adjn
(informal) small and of little importance
larceny of property having a value less than some amount (the amount varies by locale)
2.
adj
contemptibly narrow in outlook
Full Definitions of petty
1

adj (informal) small and of little importance

“limited to petty enterprises”
Synonyms:
fiddling, footling, lilliputian, little, niggling, picayune, piddling, piffling, trivial
unimportant
not important

adj inferior in rank or status

petty officialdom”
Synonyms:
junior-grade, lower-ranking, lowly, secondary, subaltern
junior
younger; lower in rank; shorter in length of tenure or service

n larceny of property having a value less than some amount (the amount varies by locale)

Synonyms:
petit larceny, petty larceny
Antonyms:
grand larceny, grand theft
larceny of property having a value greater than some amount (the amount varies by locale)
Type of:
larceny, stealing, theft, thievery, thieving
the act of taking something from someone unlawfully
2

adj contemptibly narrow in outlook

petty little comments”
Synonyms:
small-minded
narrow, narrow-minded
lacking tolerance or flexibility or breadth of view

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