- The definition of peevish is hard to please or having a bad temper.
An example of a peevish person is someone who always starts arguments with others.
This child looks peevish.
- hard to please; irritable; fretful; cross
- showing ill humor or impatience, as a glance or remark
Origin of peevishMiddle English pevische ; from uncertain or unknown; perhaps
- a. Querulous or discontented.b. Ill-tempered.
- Contrary; fractious.
Origin of peevishMiddle English pevish, possibly from Latin perversus, turned the wrong way, perverse, past participle of pervertere, to turn around, corrupt; see pervert.
(comparative more peevish, superlative most peevish)
- Constantly complaining; fretful, whining.
From Middle English pevische, pevisse, pevysse, peivesshe, also peyuesshe, peeuish, of obscure origin. Perhaps from Middle English pew, pue (“a plaintive cry, the cry of a bird”), equivalent to pue + -ish. Cognate with Scots pevis, pevess, pevych, pevach (“peevish”), Scots pew, peu (“to cry in a plaintive manner”). See pue
Alternative etymology derives Middle English peyvesshe "capricious, silly", as a possible corruption of Latin perversus "perverted". The meaning "fretful" develops in the 16th century.