AskDefine | Define peevishness

Dictionary Definition



1 an irritable petulant feeling [syn: irritability, crossness, fretfulness, fussiness, petulance, choler]
2 a disposition to exhibit uncontrolled anger; "his temper was well known to all his employees" [syn: temper, biliousness, irritability, pettishness, snappishness, surliness]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The state of being peevish.

Extensive Definition

A pet peeve (or pet hate) is a minor annoyance that can instill great frustration in an individual.


The term originated from the word 'peeve'. Its first usage was in 1919. The term is a back-formation from the 14th-century word 'peevish,' meaning ornery or ill-tempered.


Pet peeves involve complaints about specific behaviors, rather than general dissatisfaction. Pet peeves often involve specific behaviors of someone close, such as a spouse or significant other. Road rage itself is considered a pet peeve by many. Other driving-related pet peeves include drivers who speed up to keep others from changing lanes (Gap Snatchers), or distracted drivers talking on cell phones (Motor Mouths).
Often a pet peeve will seem illogical to others. For example, a supervisor may have a pet peeve about people leaving the lid on the copier up and react angrily, be annoyed when others interrupt when speaking, or by messy desks of their subordinates. That same supervisor may witness employees coming into work late, and not feel any annoyance whatsoever.
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