Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Etymology of Pet Peeves

Returning to yesterday's post, the phrase pet peeve is an interesting one and I started to wonder how it came about. The word peeve actually started out as peevish, meaning ornery or ill-tempered. Some references date the first appearance of the word peevish as occurring in the 1300's and some in the 1500's. Either way, it was through back-formation that the verbal form peeve meaning to annoy or irritate came about in the early 1900's. And it was not long after that the word pet was added to form the phrase pet peeve. As for pet, it is actually a shortened version of petty meaning trivial or minor. Hence, a pet peeve is a minor irritation.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...