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 ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.