Words worth: petulant

Sunday, November 23, 2014

petulant \PET-chuh-lunt\ adjective
1 : insolent or rude in speech or behavior
*2 : characterized by temporary or capricious ill humor : peevish

"Petulant" is related to the Latin verb "petere," which means "to go to," "to attack," "to seek," or "to request." "Petere" is a relative of the Latin adjective "petulans" ("impudent"), from which "petulant" was derived.

Some other words with connections to "petere" are "compete" and "appetite." "Competere," the Late Latin precursor to "compete," is a combination of the prefix "com-" and the verb "petere."

The joining of "ad-" and "petere" led to "appetere" ("to strive after"), and eventually to Latin "appetitus," the source of our "appetite." Additional descendants of "petere" are "petition," "perpetual," and "impetus." 


Anonymous,  November 24, 2014 at 9:45 PM  

Great idea for a "column"! I hope that you will continue to bring us words that we sometimes hear, but don't tend to use due to forgetting what they mean! An offshoot of this idea might be words that sound alike/almost alike, but are spelled differently, commonly misspelled, and have different meanings (to, too, two; lose, loose).

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