1. A solemn supplication or request, especially to a superior authority; an entreaty.
2. A formal written document requesting a right or benefit from a person or group in authority.
a. A formal written application seeking a court's intervention and action on a matter: a petition for review of a previous court's decision.
b. A pleading initiating a legal case in some civil courts: a bankruptcy petition.
4. Something requested or entreated: granted our petition.
v. pe·ti·tioned, pe·ti·tion·ing, pe·ti·tions
1. To address a petition to: petitioned the king for a pardon.
2. To ask for by petition; request formally: petitioned that the sentence be reduced.
To make a request, especially formally: petitioned for retrial.
[Middle English peticion, from Old French petition, from Latin petītiō, petītiōn-, from petītus, past participle of petere, to request; see pet- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
pe·tition·ar′y (pə-tĭshə-nĕr′ē) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.