- 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)
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 +"Ž -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.