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Petty   /pˈɛti/   Listen
Petty

adjective
(compar. pettier; superl. pettiest)
1.
Inferior in rank or status.  Synonyms: junior-grade, lower-ranking, lowly, secondary, subaltern.  "A lowly corporal" , "Petty officialdom" , "A subordinate functionary"
2.
(informal) small and of little importance.  Synonyms: fiddling, footling, lilliputian, little, niggling, picayune, piddling, piffling, trivial.  "A footling gesture" , "Our worries are lilliputian compared with those of countries that are at war" , "A little (or small) matter" , "A dispute over niggling details" , "Limited to petty enterprises" , "Piffling efforts" , "Giving a police officer a free meal may be against the law, but it seems to be a picayune infraction"
3.
Contemptibly narrow in outlook.  Synonym: small-minded.  "Disgusted with their small-minded pettiness"



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"Petty" Quotes from Famous Books



... was effectually attained. The wrongs of Napoleon, the cold cruelty of the English government, and the pestilent petty tyranny of Sir Hudson Lowe, were the perpetual themes of table-talk all over Europe. There were statesmen of high rank in either house of the British parliament, who periodically descanted on these topics—and the answers ...
— The History of Napoleon Buonaparte • John Gibson Lockhart

... Oatlands for years; for consider I cannot walk, much less climb a precipice; and the Duke of Newcastle has none of the magnificence of petty princes in a romance or in Germany, of furnishing calashes to those who visit his domains. He is not undetermined about selling the place; but besides that nobody is determined to buy it, he ...
— Letters of Horace Walpole, V4 • Horace Walpole

... aura; the aura of Arnold Schoenberg is, for me, the aura of subtle ugliness, of hatred and contempt, of cruelty, and of the mystic grandiose. He is never petty. He sins in the grand manner of Nietzsche's Superman, and he has the courage of his chromatics. If such music-making is ever to become accepted, then I long for Death the Releaser. More shocking still would be the suspicion that ...
— Ivory Apes and Peacocks • James Huneker

... surnamed Haarfager (fair-haired), by him the petty kingdoms of Norway were all conquered and knit into one compact realm; the story goes that he undertook this work to win the hand of his lady-love, and that he swore an oath neither to cut nor comb his hair till his task was done; ...
— The Nuttall Encyclopaedia - Being a Concise and Comprehensive Dictionary of General Knowledge • Edited by Rev. James Wood

... banks on the river Scheldt, King Henry and his Saxon nobles were one day assembled in their hall of justice, which in those times was beneath a broad-spreading oak. From another petty German political division had come Frederick of Telramund, with his wife Ortrud. In turn they were surrounded by their own retainers from their province, but all were assembled at King Henry's call to rally ...
— Operas Every Child Should Know - Descriptions of the Text and Music of Some of the Most Famous Masterpieces • Mary Schell Hoke Bacon

... before, she had admired him; indeed, as far as her power of admiration went, his strength had appealed to her as only strength can appeal to a woman of her type; but now that his strength was gone hatred of him rose up in her heart, petty yet powerful, a dwarf passion that had been ...
— The Pools of Silence • H. de Vere Stacpoole

... sin in the man of the North, if God and his country ever clashed, to say, that well as he loved his country, he loved his God yet more. But what plea shall shield the sin which claims to love one's own petty State better than either country or God? They have virtually tunneled and honey-combed into ruin the fundamental obligations of the citizen. Jesuitism had made itself a name of reproach by the doctrine ...
— Thirteen Months in the Rebel Army • William G. Stevenson

... to gratify a curiosity which they probably considered morbid, by yielding to it. This was a mistake. It was a mistake, as much as it would be for us to leave out of our letters to our friends the petty incidents of daily life, and describe only grand principles and outside events. It is only to those loved most by us that we recite the trivial things, for we know that those trivialities link us closer than anything else, filling all the chinks in our friendship or love. It was a disappointment ...
— Brook Farm • John Thomas Codman

... chiefs, who had surrendered on his solemn pledge of amnesty, were either handed over to the executioner or sent to linger for life, loaded with fetters, in some of the prison ambas. For the next three years Theodore's rule was acknowledged throughout the land. A few petty rebels had risen here and there, but with the exception of Tadla Gwalu, who could not be driven from the fastness of his amba in the south of Godjam, all the others were but of little importance, and did not disturb ...
— A Narrative of Captivity in Abyssinia - With Some Account of the Late Emperor Theodore, - His Country and People • Henry Blanc

... bells in the first watch, when every man turned out of his hammock. The watch on deck came springing down below and immediately unshipped the ladders. While some were engaged in lashing up the hammocks, others rushed aft and secured the warrant and petty officers. ...
— Will Weatherhelm - The Yarn of an Old Sailor • W.H.G. Kingston

... spurring on the English, and one which must be well understood and well remembered, if men like Drake, and Hawkins, and Raleigh are to be tolerably understood. One of the English Reviews, a short time ago, was much amused with a story of Drake having excommunicated a petty officer as a punishment for some moral offence; the reviewer not being able to see in Drake, as a man, anything more than a highly brave and successful buccaneer, whose pretences to religion might rank with the devotion of an Italian bandit to the Madonna. ...
— Short Studies on Great Subjects • James Anthony Froude

... was half jocular; there was a smile on his lips, but his eyes seemed to look beyond the petty troubles and problems of his craft to a ...
— Success - A Novel • Samuel Hopkins Adams

... when he had made the use of her he wished, and she had cut the curls of Nisias. A great love does not of necessity imply a great intelligence, but it must spring out of a great nature, that is certain; and where the heart has spent itself in much base petty commerce, it has no deep treasury of gold on which to draw; it is bankrupt from its very over-trading. A noble passion is very rare; believe me; as rare as any other ...
— Wisdom, Wit, and Pathos of Ouida - Selected from the Works of Ouida • Ouida

... something which hitherto I have hid even from you. I have a right to that name, for if your blood is high, O Shabaka, so is mine. Know that this poor dwarf whom you took captive and saved long years ago was more than the petty chief which he declared himself to be. He was and is by right the King of the Ethiopians and that throne with all its wealth and power he could ...
— The Ancient Allan • H. Rider Haggard

... over another, the enclosure of the bureau pushed back against the president's chair, a tumult such as to bring to mind 'the day of judgment," the death-shrieks, songs, yells, and "people beside themselves, for the most part not knowing where they are nor what they want."—Each district is also a petty center, while the Palais-Royal is the main center. Propositions, "accusations, and deputations travel to and fro from one to the other, along with the human torrent which is obstructed or rushes ahead with no other guide than its own inclination ...
— The Origins of Contemporary France, Volume 2 (of 6) - The French Revolution, Volume 1 (of 3) • Hippolyte A. Taine

... propitious, but though I struggled hard I simply could not get the julep spirit to descend to our mortal plane. Finally I made inquiry and found that one of the guests was a root-beer manufacturer. Of course you may say that was petty jealousy on the side of the departed, but even these vanished spirits ...
— In the Sweet Dry and Dry • Christopher Morley

... to-morrow Creeps in this petty pace from day to day; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way ...
— Is Life Worth Living? • William Hurrell Mallock

... S. Armstrong displayed great coolness in conducting the fire of their guns. Petty Officers Ashley, Doris, and Fuller, Monarch, laid their guns with great ...
— South Africa and the Transvaal War, Vol. 2 (of 6) - From the Commencement of the War to the Battle of Colenso, - 15th Dec. 1899 • Louis Creswicke

... prophet, talking of were-wolves, vampires, cathedrals, sunrises, forests, passion and despair, hatted like brigands, cloaked after Vandyke, curled like Absalom, making new laws unto themselves in verse as in morals, and leaving all petty talk of duty or common sense to the Academy ...
— The History of David Grieve • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... for hero-worship is based on very simple considerations. A nation's great men, he says, are but slight deviations from the general level. The hero is merely a special complex of the ordinary qualities of his race. The petty differences impressed upon ordinary Greek minds by Plato or Aristotle or Zeno, are nothing at all compared with the vast differences between every Greek mind and every Egyptian or Chinese mind. We may neglect them in a philosophy of history, just as in calculating the impetus ...
— The Will to Believe - and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy • William James

... work of this scope, it is impossible to describe all the wars between the petty kingdoms peopled by races of various languages, which occupied Scotland. In 603, in the wild moors at Degsastane, between the Liddel burn and the passes of the Upper Tyne, the English Aethelfrith of Deira, with an ...
— A Short History of Scotland • Andrew Lang

... oatcakes would stick to the bake-stone, and no force could get them away from it till they were burnt and spoiled; the milk turned sour, the cheese became so hard that not even rats' teeth could gnaw it, the stools and settles broke down if sat upon, and the list of petty grievances was completed by a whole side of bacon being devoured in a single night. Roger Nowell and Nicholas listened patiently to a detail of all these grievances, and expressed strong sympathy for the sufferers, ...
— The Lancashire Witches - A Romance of Pendle Forest • William Harrison Ainsworth

... all the petty trials of her existence. In order not to feel that she was prematurely a widow, she had to go with her husband in his automobile and show an interest in his trips which once had amused her but ...
— Woman Triumphant - (La Maja Desnuda) • Vicente Blasco Ibanez

... of Lord Bacon, that when it was necessary to economize, it was better to look after petty savings than to descend to petty gettings. The loose cash which many persons throw away uselessly, and worse, would often form a basis of fortune and independence for life. These wasters are their own worst enemies, though generally found amongst the ...
— How to Get on in the World - A Ladder to Practical Success • Major A.R. Calhoon

... the fruits of the spirit. As his romances have brought pleasure to thousands of readers, so the spectacle of his cheerful march through the Valley of the Shadow of Death is a constant source of comfort and inspiration. One feels ashamed of cowardice and petty irritation after witnessing the steady courage of this man. His philosophy of life is totally different from that of Stoicism; for the Stoic says, "Grin and bear it," and usually succeeds in doing neither. Stevenson ...
— Essays of Robert Louis Stevenson • Robert Louis Stevenson

... their lives arriv'd yet At any thought of King: Imperial dignities, And powerful God-like actions, fit for Princes They can no more put on, and make 'em sit right, Than I can with this mortal hand hold Heaven: Poor petty men, nor have I yet forgot The chiefest honours time, and merit gave 'em: Lisimachus your Master, at the best, His highest, and his hopeful'st Dignities Was but grand-master of the Elephants; ...
— Beaumont & Fletcher's Works (2 of 10) - The Humourous Lieutenant • Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher

... misfortune. The road, the haystack, the park bench, the kitchen door, the bitter round of eleemosynary beds-with-shower-bath-attachment, the petty pickings and ignobly garnered largesse of great cities—these formed the ...
— Strictly Business • O. Henry

... the power that nature had placed at the disposal of their intelligence, they have idled away their time gabbling about nothing. And even since, at last, they have begun to do something, look at the time that they have wasted upon such petty forces as steam and 'electricity,' burning whole mines of coal and whole lakes of oil, and childishly calling upon winds and tides and waterfalls to help them, when they had under their thumbs the limitless energy of the atoms, and no more understood ...
— A Columbus of Space • Garrett P. Serviss

... requiring to be assured at times that she spoke intelligible Italian and exquisite French. Violetta supposed her to feel that she commanded the situation. Patient study of this woman revealed to Violetta the amazing fact that she was dealing with a born bourgeoise, who, not devoid of petty acuteness, was unaffectedly enjoying her noble small-talk, and the prospect of a footing in Italian high society. Violetta smiled at the comedy she had been playing in, scarcely reproaching herself for not having ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... he clung, great was his weight. Two hours he bore him on high. The eagle spake to him, to Etana:— See my friend, the land, how it lies, Look at the sea, the ocean-girded, Like a mountain looks the land, the sea like petty waters. Two hours more he bore him up. The eagle spake to him, to Etana:— See my friend the land, how it lies, The sea is like the girdle of the land. Two hours more he bore him up. The eagle spake to him, to Etana:— See my friend ...
— Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern, Vol. 1 • Charles Dudley Warner

... is such a world of difference between the two! I longed for my friend to see the smoke ascending from my small burnt-offerings of self made for his sake. But I longed, too, for him not always to see with calm, clear eyes my petty failings, my minute vanities, my inconsistencies, my incongruities, my frequent lack of reasoning power and logical sequence, my gusts of occasional injustice—ending nearly always in a rain of undue benefits—my surely forgivable follies ...
— A Spirit in Prison • Robert Hichens

... he got up, took his stick, and seemed about to depart. Just then in burst a rabble rout of game-keepers and river-watchers who had come from the petty sessions, and were in high glee, the two poachers whom the landlord had mentioned having been convicted and heavily fined. Two or three of them were particularly boisterous, running against some of ...
— Wild Wales - Its People, Language and Scenery • George Borrow

... admitting them to Parliament, and refusing to them a full and equal participation in all the blessings of society and government. The thing most alien from his clear intellect and his commanding spirit was petty persecution. He knew how to tolerate; and he knew how to destroy. His administration in Ireland was an administration on what are now called Orange principles, followed out most ably, most steadily, most undauntedly, most unrelentingly, to every extreme consequence ...
— Critical and Historical Essays Volume 1 • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... Japan was simply a combination of the uji. It was purely Japanese. Not until the seventh century of the Christian era were any foreign elements introduced. From ministers and generals of the highest class down to petty functionaries, all offices were discharged by uji no Kami, and as the latter had the general name of kabane root of the uji the system was similarly termed. In effect, the kabane was an order of nobility. Offices were ...
— A History of the Japanese People - From the Earliest Times to the End of the Meiji Era • Frank Brinkley and Dairoku Kikuchi

... I feel From what it is that I must wean myself. Once it was otherwise! Yes, once thy soul Was bounteous, rich, and warm, and there was room For a whole world in thy expanded heart. Those feelings are extinct—all swallowed up In one poor, petty, selfish passion. Now Thy heart is withered, dead! No tears last thou For the unhappy fate of wretched Flanders— No, not another tear. Oh, Carlos! see How poor, how beggarly, thou hast become, Since all thy love ...
— The Works of Frederich Schiller in English • Frederich Schiller

... wandering sadly by the shore of Shetland fiords, there may be men who had in them the makings of eminent preachers; but whose powers have never been called out, and are rusting sadly away: and in whom many petty cares are developing a ...
— The Recreations of A Country Parson • A. K. H. Boyd

... are very varied. We have been several times into the town and spent an hour in the Petty Sessions Court with Mr. Colquhoun, who sits on the bench. Each time we have come home laden with stories 'as good as any in the books,' so says Francesca. Have we not with our own eyes seen the settlement of an assault and battery case between two of the most notorious brawlers in that alley of ...
— Penelope's Irish Experiences • Kate Douglas Wiggin

... spring that was no more. He had told her that she would sing that song well some day when she learned what it meant. She would never sing it again as she had sung it to-night. All the dross that Peter had worn in the world was stripped from him in that moment, all that was petty and ignoble in his heart driven forth and he stood with bowed head, in shame for what he had been, and in gentleness for this dear creature whose idols ...
— The Vagrant Duke • George Gibbs

... from the seventh century, at which period they migrated from the Carpathians to the Danube, were in the twelfth century divided into petty states. ...
— Servia, Youngest Member of the European Family • Andrew Archibald Paton

... which, as she fears, must sweep his self-confidence and his purposes away. He may be permitted to assure her that "my ears are stone-dead to this idle buzz, and my flesh as insensible as iron to these petty stings," and to accompany his assurance with a reasoned statement of the grounds ...
— Wordsworth • F. W. H. Myers

... morning after my arrival, you appeared and seemed a part of it. Do you remember what I said then? I have reluctantly thought to-night that you could wear your coronet of beauty, not Only as a benignant queen, but as a petty tyrant,—that you could put it to ignoble uses, and make it a slave to self. It seemed at times that you only sought to lead men to bow in admiration to you, instead of inspiring them to stand erect in true manhood, with their faces heavenward. ...
— From Jest to Earnest • E. P. Roe

... himself and Justine, apart from their love for each other, there was the wider passion for their kind, which gave back to them an enlarged and deepened reflection of their personal feeling. In such an air it had seemed that no petty egotism could hamper their growth, no misintelligence obscure their love; yet all the while this pure happiness had been unfolding against a sordid background of falsehood and intrigue from which his ...
— The Fruit of the Tree • Edith Wharton

... deprives the colony of customary gaiety and impulsiveness. While the female sits close, the male perches on top of the nest, occasionally beguiling the time by inconsequent repairs and petty squabbles with next door neighbours. How brilliant are their eyes, especially when they sparkle with spite—flame ...
— My Tropic Isle • E J Banfield

... experience, may be regarded as the product of a superficial spirit that has never known the deeper evils of life. But, if pessimism be true, it differs from other truths by its uselessness; for, even if it saves man from the bitterness of petty disappointments, it does so only by making the misery universal. There is no need to specify, when "All is vanity." The drowning man does not feel the discomfort of being wet. But yet, if we reflect on the problem ...
— Browning as a Philosophical and Religious Teacher • Henry Jones

... soldiers to take their places along the walls, and they did so in silence, yet wondering greatly at all they saw. There were four-and-twenty of them, not counting the two who held the officer, all men of Indian blood whom the Spaniards[D] had made rather slaves than soldiers to fight their petty quarrels for them for little ...
— The Romance of Golden Star ... • George Chetwynd Griffith

... and religious foundations! That this should be the case, before the Conquest, is not surprizing. Our empire was but forming itself, or re-collecting its divided members into one mass, which, from the desertion of the Romans, had split into petty kingdoms. The invasions of nations as barbarous as ourselves, interfered with every plan of policy and order that might have been formed to settle the emerging state; and swarms of foreign monks ...
— Historic Doubts on the Life and Reign of King Richard the Third • Horace Walpole

... a place in his Junior House Fifteen, and the other, to score some signal and lasting victory over his form-master, a Mr Sydney Mellar, with whom he appears to wage a sort of perpetual guerilla warfare. Every vacation brings him home with a fresh tale of base subterfuges, petty tyrannies, and childish exhibitions of spite on the part of the infamous Mellar, all duly frustrated, crushed, and made ridiculous by the ingenuity, resource, and audacity of the intrepid Rubislaw. I have never met Mr Mellar in the flesh, ...
— The Right Stuff - Some Episodes in the Career of a North Briton • Ian Hay

... of gratitude or affection. In expressing their opinion of us in after years, they said we were a very troublesome, obstinate, disobedient set of children. I have no doubt we were in constant rebellion against their petty tyranny. Abraham, Peter, and Jacob viewed us in a different light, and I have the most pleasant ...
— Eighty Years And More; Reminiscences 1815-1897 • Elizabeth Cady Stanton

... "I would be petty, then. But, as far as that goes, Arlt's ancestors were gentlemen, when hers were shovelling gravel for a dollar a day. American democracy runs in strange grooves. Thayer, I am going to leave Beatrix in your care for a few minutes. I promised Ned Carpenter I would ...
— The Dominant Strain • Anna Chapin Ray

... progress, as it had never before advanced at one stride. But to effect this, it should be planned and executed as a great, harmonious, and centrally powerful scheme, not be tinkered over and frittered away by all the petty doughfaces in every village. In great emergencies, ...
— Continental Monthly, Vol. I, No. VI, June, 1862 - Devoted To Literature and National Policy • Various

... for the most part in walled enclosures known as kampongs, in flimsy houses built of bamboo and thatched with grass or leaves. But as diagonal struts are not used the walls soon lean over from the force of the wind, giving to the villages a curiously inebriated appearance. In several of the eight petty states which comprise the confederation of Boni the ruler is not infrequently a woman, the female line having precedence over the male line in succession to the throne. The women rulers of the Bugis have invariably shown themselves ...
— Where the Strange Trails Go Down • E. Alexander Powell

... Pao, it would not have mattered," remarked Hsiao Hung, "but Miss Lin delights in telling mean things of people and is, besides, so petty-minded. Should she have heard and anything perchance comes to ...
— Hung Lou Meng, Book II • Cao Xueqin

... that crawl on the earth were shared, we may be sure, by her Grace's waiting-maid. Of humanity there was as little as there was of religion. It was the age of the criminal law which hanged men for petty thefts, of life-long imprisonment for debt, of the stocks and the pillory, of a Temple Bar garnished with the heads of traitors, of the unreformed prison system, of the press-gang, of unrestrained tyranny and savagery at public schools. That the slave trade was ...
— The Ontario Readers: The High School Reader, 1886 • Ministry of Education

... end of April, everything had become aggravated. The fermentation entered the boiling state. Ever since 1830, petty partial revolts had been going on here and there, which were quickly suppressed, but ever bursting forth afresh, the sign of a vast underlying conflagration. Something terrible was in preparation. Glimpses could be caught of the features still indistinct and imperfectly lighted, ...
— Les Miserables - Complete in Five Volumes • Victor Hugo

... so easily, La Trape ran to the gate; but he failed to find his friend, and two or three days elapsed before I thought again of the matter, such petty rogueries being ingrained in a great man's VALETAILLE, and being no more to be removed than the hairs from a man's arm. At the end of that time La Trape came to me, bringing the Spaniard; who had appeared again at the gate. The stranger proved to be a small, slight man, ...
— From the Memoirs of a Minister of France • Stanley Weyman

... other boys, under the superintendence of one of the petty officers, were working away at the cranks of the Downton pumps with the energy of so many convicts on the treadmill; clink-clanking at such a rate, that one could hear the suck of the pumps and the rush of the ...
— Young Tom Bowling - The Boys of the British Navy • J.C. Hutcheson

... is Jack at work again." Indeed, Jack was a warm friend, and a gallant partisan, and when he had the pen in hand, seldom let slip an opportunity of letting the world know that Rafferty was the greatest painter in Europe, and wondering at the petty jealousy of the Academy, which refused to make him an R. A.: of stating that it was generally reported at the West End, that Mr. Rooney, M. P. was appointed Governor of Barataria; or of introducing into the subject in hand, whatever it might be, a compliment to the Round Towers, or ...
— The History of Pendennis, Vol. 2 - His Fortunes and Misfortunes, His Friends and His Greatest Enemy • William Makepeace Thackeray

... a Huff, remembering past treacheries and living in the expectancy of more, the Widow cast aside all petty heart-burnings in her joy at the humiliation of Stiff Neck George. Leaving Virginia in the kitchen, to fry Wiley's steak, she rushed into the dining-room with her eyes ablaze and all but ...
— Shadow Mountain • Dane Coolidge

... that he fed petty assemblages with narcotic words to stupefy conscience, or corrosive words to kill conscience, but in that he gave to the world those decisive, true words which shall yet pierce all ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 09, No. 51, January, 1862 • Various

... must precede the man of genius, who often becomes only the vehicle of public feeling. MACHIAVEL has been reproached for propagating a political system subversive of all human honour and happiness; but was it Machiavel who formed his age, or the age which created Machiavel? Living among the petty principalities of Italy, where stratagem and assassination were the practices of those wretched courts, what did that calumniated genius more than lift the veil from a cabinet of bandtiti? MACHIAVEL alarmed the world by exposing ...
— Literary Character of Men of Genius - Drawn from Their Own Feelings and Confessions • Isaac D'Israeli

... chaouch's wife, about two Tunisian piastres which were missing, she accusing him of theft and he indignantly repelling the charge. These Easterns seem to have minds constructed on different patterns from ours, and are apt to introduce such petty discussions at the most solemn moments; but we must not, therefore, be hasty in concluding that there is any sham in their sorrow, or ...
— Narrative of a Mission to Central Africa Performed in the Years 1850-51, Volume 1 • James Richardson

... reformers who come to explain their projects are among the most formidable of earthly visitations. Emerson accepted his martyrdom with meek submission; it was a martyrdom in detail, but collectively its petty tortures might have satisfied a reasonable inquisitor as the punishment of a moderate heresy. Except in that one phrase above quoted he never complained of his social oppressors, so far as I remember, in his writings. ...
— The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (The Physician and Poet not the Jurist)

... Christmas in a horrible way. To begin with, I had palpitations of the heart; secondly, my brother Ivan came to stay and was ill with typhoid, poor fellow; thirdly, after my Sahalin labours and the tropics, my Moscow life seems to me now so petty, so bourgeois, and so dull, that I feel ready to bite; fourthly, working for my daily bread prevents my giving up my time to Sahalin; fifthly, my acquaintances bother me, and ...
— Letters of Anton Chekhov • Anton Chekhov

... pride and the soldier's guerdon of valor. He would be in the van of such an uprising. He scorns to be a petty buccaneer, a butcher of half-armed natives, a rover and a robber. In every scene, through the days of 1859, Valois bears himself as a cavalier. Personal ...
— The Little Lady of Lagunitas • Richard Henry Savage

... these laborers still were! If only they could be relied on, if only they would stand together! Slavery! It WAS slavery; so long as they could be turned out of their homes at will in this fashion. His rebellion against the conditions of their lives, above all against the manifold petty tyrannies that he knew they underwent, came from use of his eyes and ears in daily contact with a class among whom he had been more or less brought up. In sympathy with, and yet not of them, he had the queer privilege of feeling their slights ...
— Forsyte Saga • John Galsworthy

... Thus a system of law grew up, and arrangements for preserving public order, for promoting the general industry, and rules and regulations for the collection of the tribute, until at length, when all these arrangements were matured, and the multitude of petty chieftains became combined under one great chieftain ruling over the whole, and collecting the revenue for his subordinates, we find a great kingdom as the result, in which the descendants of the ancient marauders that lived in castles on the hills, under the name of princes and nobles, ...
— Rollo on the Rhine • Jacob Abbott

... the same degree of perception as he himself professes, he begins an explanation in such a curious manner that our taste and self-love are offended continually. Hunt does one harm by making fine things petty, and beautiful things hateful. Through him I am indifferent to Mozart, I care not for white busts; and many a glorious thing, when associated with him, becomes a nothing. This distorts one's mind—makes one's thoughts bizarre—perplexes one ...
— Adonais • Shelley

... one has the whole world on his shoulders, and unless his own petty ideas and schemes are adopted and succeed, he prophesies the end of the world. You are on the right road—push on! Our maxim is: Be sure you are right ...
— Life of Father Hecker • Walter Elliott

... forward, the boat finally drew up alongside. Willing hands helped Ted and Bill up the steep side of the Dewey and they were tendered such a reception as they had never known before. Then ensued a parley between the petty officer of the sunken gunboat Strassburg and the ...
— The Brighton Boys with the Submarine Fleet • James R. Driscoll

... imagined on the mental state of the persons who use it when they wish to arraign the conditions of "modern life." A vituperative epithet is capable of making a big show. "Artificialities" is a sufficiently scornful word, but when you add "petty" you somehow give the quietus to the pretensions of modern life. Modern life had better hide its diminished head, after that. Modern life is settled and done for—in the opinion of those who have thrown the dart. Only it isn't done for, really, you know. "Petty," ...
— Mental Efficiency - And Other Hints to Men and Women • Arnold Bennett

... he wished it: he knows that I have been always more inclined to tolerate his ambition than to restrain it. If he had continued my friend and my ally, I would have made him greater than he ever will be now. Prussia, and the petty Kings of the Rhenish confederation, will follow the lot cast by Russia. If I had Russia on my side, she would secure me all the second-rate powers. As to the Austrians, I do not know what they would do: they have never treated me candidly. I suppose ...
— Memoirs of the Private Life, Return, and Reign of Napoleon in 1815, Vol. I • Pierre Antoine Edouard Fleury de Chaboulon

... The lord lieutenant's carriage was drawn up outside, and there was an unusual muster of magistrates. As a rule the cases brought before their jurisdiction were trivial in the extreme, consisting chiefly of drunkenness, varied by an occasional petty assault. There was scarcely one of them who remembered having sat upon so serious a charge. Lord Lathon came over to Mr. Thurwell directly he ...
— The New Tenant • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... crocketed pinnacles and spire, and the fantastic far-stretching gargoyles of the venerable cathedral, makes one feel that joy of the eye and the spirit which is the wanderer's reward for all the sun-scorch and other petty tribulations he may have to endure ...
— Two Summers in Guyenne • Edward Harrison Barker

... manifestation of the Eternal. But one should go to such a scene prepared to yield entirely to its influences, to forget one's little self and one's little mind. To see a miserable worm creep to the brink of this falling world of waters, and watch the trembling of its own petty bosom, and fancy that this is made alone to act upon ...
— At Home And Abroad - Or, Things And Thoughts In America and Europe • Margaret Fuller Ossoli

... being, of course, well used to such scenes; looking upon all kinds of robbery, from petty larceny up to housebreaking or ventures on the highway, as matters in the regular course of business; and regarding the perpetrators in the light of so many customers coming to be served at the wholesale and retail shop of criminal law where he stood ...
— The Old Curiosity Shop • Charles Dickens

... and simple notion, yet it had entered nobody's head till that moment. It was a saying that had extraordinary consequences. All scandal and gossip, all the petty tittle-tattle was thrown into the background, another significance had been detected. A new character was revealed whom all had misjudged; a character, almost ideally severe in his standards. Mortally insulted by a student, that is, an educated ...
— The Possessed - or, The Devils • Fyodor Dostoyevsky

... certainly have afforded him. He was inclined to shew an usurper and a murderer not only odious, but despicable; he therefore added drunkenness to his other qualities, knowing that kings love wine like other men, and that wine exerts its natural power upon kings. These are the petty cavils of petty minds; a poet overlooks the casual distinction of country and condition, as a painter, satisfied with ...
— Eighteenth Century Essays on Shakespeare • D. Nichol Smith

... remembered, is in the first instance only an idea, and the narrowest of local jealousies may be, and often are, forms merely of the same impulse. To men living in one of these small isolated communities, each under the rule of its own petty chieftain, it was natural and perhaps inevitable that the sense of connection with those outside their own community should have been remarkably slight, and of nationality, as we understand the word, quite non-existent. Their own little circle of hills and valleys, ...
— The Story Of Ireland • Emily Lawless

... just wanted to make a pleasant impression on a girl, and said anything he thought would please her. I don't care whether he does things like that or not. What I care about is that the principle didn't reach him and that he mocked it! I don't care about a petty treachery to me, ...
— Ramsey Milholland • Booth Tarkington

... instead of restraining this imperious spirit in his son, as he might, perhaps, have done by a considerate and kind, and, at the same time, decisive exercise of authority, teased and tormented him by sarcasms and petty vexations. Among other instances of this, he gave him the nickname of Short Boots, because he was of inferior stature. As Robert was, however, at this time of full age, he was stung to the quick at having such a stigma attached to him by his father, and his bosom burned with secret sentiments ...
— William the Conqueror - Makers of History • Jacob Abbott

... harbor, where ships arrive daily from the different quarters of the world. I frequented also the society of the learned Indians, and took delight to hear them converse; but withal, I took care to make my court regularly to the maharaja, and conversed with the governors and petty kings, his tributaries, that were about him. They put a thousand questions respecting my country; and I, being willing to inform myself as to their laws and customs, asked them concerning everything which I ...
— The Arabian Nights Entertainments • Anonymous

... Emily in that she was always sweet-spoken and, on the surface, sweet-tempered. Emily, hurt and galled in a score of petty ways, so subtle that they were beyond a man's courser comprehension, astonished her husband by her fierce outbursts of anger that seemed to him for the most part without reason or excuse. He tried his best to preserve the ...
— Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1902 to 1903 • Lucy Maud Montgomery

... Flemish burghers, whose French count, Louis de Nevers, had gained nothing in their affections through the humiliation of Cassel, which confirmed his rule. The hated count showed his hostility to Edward, as well as his spite against his own subjects, by various petty acts which interfered with the commerce and industry of ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 07 • Various

... Vaux, Robert O'Sargent; second master, Henry F. Collins; surgeon, Stephen Stanley; assistant surgeon, Harry D.S. Goodsir; paymaster and purser, Charles H. Osmer; master, James Reid, acting; fifty-eight petty officers, seamen, etcetera. Full ...
— Our Sailors - Gallant Deeds of the British Navy during Victoria's Reign • W.H.G. Kingston

... upon my dress, The day of the great ball, was Lucy Merle; I found her saving up her petty means To go to London, to get better wages,— And said: 'Well, Lucy, let us go together.' She sold some jewels for me, ...
— The Woman Who Dared • Epes Sargent

... intellectual concentration which could enable him to examine a subject to its close. He would begin to talk with me seriously enough, and with a due solemnity, about the suit against him; but, in a tangent, he would dart off to the consideration of some trifle, some household matter, or petty affair, of which, at any other time, he must have known that his hearers had no wish to hear. Poor Julia confirmed the conjectures which I entertained, but did not utter, by telling me that her father had changed very much in his ways ever since ...
— Confession • W. Gilmore Simms

... was the woof of petty interests and petty conspiracies which united Blois with Orleans and Orleans with Paris; and which was about to bring into the last named city, where she was to produce so great a revolution, the poor little La Valliere, who was far from suspecting, as she returned joyfully, ...
— Ten Years Later - Chapters 1-104 • Alexandre Dumas, Pere

... eagerness as they used to do—how many years agone? It is chiefly for their sakes that I have added several interludes, telling how Sweetheart, Hugh John, Sir Toady Lion, and Maid Margaret received my petty larcenies from the full chest of ...
— Red Cap Tales - Stolen from the Treasure Chest of the Wizard of the North • Samuel Rutherford Crockett

... the Constitution of the United States is no supreme effort of genius; but events now passing are teaching us that every day of fidelity to the spirit of it lends it new preciousness; and that an adherence to it, not petty and literal, but at once large and indomitable, might almost make it a charter of new sanctities both of law and liberty ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 9, No. 55, May, 1862 • Various

... Take it? I guess not. I turned on my heel without a word and went straight home. I don't think anything ever inspired more contempt in me as a boy than that piece of petty thievery. ...
— "Say Fellows—" - Fifty Practical Talks with Boys on Life's Big Issues • Wade C. Smith

... are not uninhabited. On the contrary, one considerable kingdom (Nepaul), with many petty states and communities (as Bhotan, Sikhim, Gurwhal, Kumaon, and the famed Cashmere), are found within their boundaries—some enjoying a sort of political independence, but most of them living under the protection either of the Anglo-Indian empire, on the one side, or that of China upon ...
— The Cliff Climbers - A Sequel to "The Plant Hunters" • Captain Mayne Reid

... QUARTER-MASTER. A petty officer, appointed to assist the master and mates in their several duties, as stowing the hold, coiling the cables, attending the binnacle and steerage, keeping time by the watch-glasses, assisting in hoisting the signals, and keeping his eye on general ...
— The Sailor's Word-Book • William Henry Smyth

... times two parties will meet and exchange the different kinds they respectively bring. Among the younger people I have often seen a poor hungry fellow, who had by his skill or perseverance obtained some small article of food, compelled by the rules of savage politeness to share out the petty spoil among a group of expectant sharks around, whilst he whose skill or labour had procured it dared hardly taste it, and was sure to come ...
— Journals Of Expeditions Of Discovery Into Central • Edward John Eyre

... their presence there to an outsider. Should the man by any chance die, their situation would be such that their only safety would lie in flight. To the law they were already fugitives and consequently to be suspected of anything from petty larceny ...
— The Web of the Golden Spider • Frederick Orin Bartlett

... said Mr. Esthwaite turning off. "The 'Queen Esther'!—I know her. She's not fit for you; she's a leaky old thing, that that man Hawkins sails on all sorts of petty business; she'll go to pieces some day. She ain't sea-worthy, ...
— The Old Helmet, Volume II • Susan Warner

... which he, as a brave soldier, no matter how modest, could not fail to play. He would recognise that such public honourings of valour had widespread effect among the population. In face of such arguments I had to withdraw my opposition; otherwise it might have appeared that I was actuated by petty personal motives. God knows I only desired to save Boyce from undergoing a difficult ordeal. For the same reasons I could not refuse to serve on the Reception Committee which was immediately formed under the ...
— The Red Planet • William J. Locke

... forces, and to bring it into the greatness and power of submission to the dominion of this sovereign, unifying motive. Our lives would thus be greatened and strengthened, even as Germany and Italy have been, by being delivered from a rabble of petty dukes and brought under the sway of one emperor or king. Let us try to approach nearer and nearer to the fusion of action and contemplation, and to the blending with all other motives of ...
— Expositions of Holy Scripture - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers • Alexander Maclaren

... that out of the bowels of wall, beam and rafter, I had a new birth into the outside. In making fresh acquaintance with things, the dingy covering of petty habits seemed to drop off the world. I am sure that the sugar-cane molasses, which I had with cold luchis for my breakfast, could not have tasted different from the ambrosia which Indra[15] quaffs in his heaven; ...
— My Reminiscences • Rabindranath Tagore

... existing government in Canada, or approved of by a majority of the citizens in the Canadian townships; but when they bear in mind that civil law is suspended in Canada, and in its place are substituted the summary proceedings of military courts and the capricious wills of petty military officers; when they consider the excited and embittered feelings which prevail along the frontier, and which some have studied to inflame, and also the character of a portion of the population ...
— Diary in America, Series Two • Frederick Marryat (AKA Captain Marryat)

... sin yet remains, And human frailties do attend the best; To bear and forbear here, will tend to rest. Vain jangling, jars, and strifes will there abound, Where moles are mountains made, or fault is found, With every little, trivial, petty thing; This spirit snib, or 'twill much mischief bring Into this house, and 'tis for want of love, 'Tis entertain'd: it is ...
— The Works of John Bunyan • John Bunyan

... royalty was the amelioration of the condition of the Lutherans. It came about in this way: in the course of her inquiries and intercourse among the people of the Prussian dominions, she discovered that adherents to the Lutheran Church were subject to much petty persecution on behalf of their faith. True they were not dealt with so cruelly as in former times, but frequently, at that very day, they were imprisoned, or suffered the loss of property because of their religious opinions. ...
— Elizabeth Fry • Mrs. E. R. Pitman

... but if you're thinking of dragging up Simpkins before the Petty Sessions on a bogus charge, you may as well put the idea out of your head at once. It won't work. You'll have the Major on the Bench with you, and though he doesn't like the man, I don't think he'd ...
— The Simpkins Plot • George A. Birmingham

... and had no notion of sailing balloons over the sea. With this view he discouraged Stanhope's philanthropic and propagandist paper, the Telegrapho, and disparaged Dr. Mayor, its Swiss editor, saying, "Of all petty tyrants he is one of the pettiest, as are most demagogues." Byron had none of the Sclavonic leanings, and almost personal hatred of Ottoman rule, of some of our statesmen; but he saw on what side lay the forces ...
— Byron • John Nichol

... the Darlings were a rising family, and offense comes down the hill like stones dislodged by the upward traveller. Mrs. Twemlow knew nothing she disliked so much as any form of haughtiness; it was so small, so petty, so opposed to all true Christianity. And this made her think that the Darlings were always endeavoring to patronize her—a thing she would much rather ...
— Springhaven - A Tale of the Great War • R. D. Blackmore

... the elevator depositing a nighthawk. A plong of the bedspring. Somebody's cough. A train's shriek. The jerk of plumbing. A window being raised. That creak which lies hidden in every darkness, like a mysterious knee joint. By three o'clock she was a quivering victim to these petty concepts, and her pillow so explored that not a spot but was rumpled to the aching lay of ...
— The Vertical City • Fannie Hurst

... exerting a strength that dominated the man upon whom his hold was fastened. The mayor went on in an undertone, as if anxious to show additional deference in the presence of the senatorial ponderings. "Governor, petty politics haven't been allowed to make a bad mess of what has been turned into an open proposition. Now don't allow your tongue to make a mess of this new development as it stands right now. Humor Miss Corson's notions! And let me ...
— All-Wool Morrison • Holman Day

... persuading even the men most obdurate to counsel,—all served to invest the practical man with those spells which are usually confined to the ideal one. But, indeed, Audley Egerton was an Ideal,—the ideal of the Practical. Not the mere vulgar, plodding, red-tape machine of petty business, but the man of strong sense, inspired by inflexible energy and guided to definite earthly objects. In a dissolute and corrupt form of government, under a decrepit monarchy or a vitiated republic, Audley Egerton might have been a most dangerous citizen: ...
— My Novel, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... and, like all interpretation, depends more on insight and selection than on representation. Try for this always. Search for it in the manner, in the pose and occupation, of your sitter. Get likeness if you will, of course; but remember that there is a petty likeness, which may be accident or not, which you can always get by a little care in drawing; and that there is a larger character which includes this, and does not depend on exaggeration of feature or emphasis of accidental ...
— The Painter in Oil - A complete treatise on the principles and technique - necessary to the painting of pictures in oil colors • Daniel Burleigh Parkhurst

... administrative slackness and confusion in a country where the officials work scarcely two hours a day; those who know the cost of going to and returning from the capital to obtain a permit; those who are aware of the petty retaliations of the little tyrants will well understand how with this crude arrangement it is possible to have the most absurd agriculture. True it is that for some time this absurdity, which would be ludicrous had it not been so serious, has disappeared; but even if the words ...
— The Indolence of the Filipino • Jose Rizal

... part of our present prison system is probably our county jails. It is supposed about 8,000 persons pass through our county jails each year. They are generally persons charged with crimes and awaiting trial. But lunatics and petty offenders in considerable numbers are also confined in these places. The young and the old, the innocent and the guilty, hardened offenders and beginners in crime, are commonly mingled together in the ...
— The Life, Public Services and Select Speeches of Rutherford B. Hayes • James Quay Howard

... said the inventor peevishly, "why do you tack on these petty details to my grand conception? It is the idea I want to sell; other people can use it. Now, will the ...
— The Galaxy - Vol. 23, No. 1 • Various

... with all the persons he encountered. The people whom he loved when at his best as a fine young fellow were so very soon, and through petty causes, to become nothing to him, and he himself was to be converted into a commonplace tradesman. And living seemed to Jurgen a wasteful ...
— Jurgen - A Comedy of Justice • James Branch Cabell

... authority, so often ridiculed as chimerical and absurd, was in a measure justified by the event, since it did, in fact, determine the principles on which the vast extent of unappropriated empire in the eastern and western hemispheres was ultimately divided between two petty states of Europe. ...
— The History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella The Catholic, V2 • William H. Prescott

... side of New York, during this year, a variety of petty enterprises were undertaken. While Sir Henry Clinton was absent, Knyphausen was at first occupied in making preparations for the defence of that city? for, by the extreme severity of the winter, New York was deprived of that natural defence which arises from its insular ...
— The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.III. - From George III. to Victoria • E. Farr and E. H. Nolan

... Lewis. He immediately communicated with Shelley, and the whole edition was suppressed—not, however, before about one hundred copies had passed into circulation. To which of the collaborators this daring act of petty larceny was due, we know not; but we may be sure that Shelley satisfied Stockdale on the point of piracy, since the publisher saw no reason to break with him. On the 14th of November in the same year he issued Shelley's second novel from his press, and entered into negotiations with him ...
— Percy Bysshe Shelley • John Addington Symonds

... some of the things I say about people in our own rank of life. She believes that certain vulgar vices, such as cheating, lying, gluttony, petty gossip, malicious mischief-making, etc., are confined to the lower orders, or, as she wisely and kindly phrases it, to people who know no better. She laughs at me, and I laugh at myself, when I say (to support my own views) that I know more of the ...
— Six to Sixteen - A Story for Girls • Juliana Horatia Ewing



Words linked to "Petty" :   narrow-minded, theft, narrow, stealing, grand larceny, colloquialism, thieving, junior, unimportant, thievery, larceny, pettiness



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