Petulance Can Be So Irritating!

Have you ever written about a petulant person?  Perhaps you need to write one into your book now.  Whatever does a petulant person do that is irritating?For one thing, they get upset or irritated at the most trifling of situations.  That’s when you might get the head toss, roll of the eyes, deep sigh of displeasure . . .  you know the moves, right?

Like the letter “P” here the petulant attitude can make a mess of most any situation.

petulant | adjective

moved to or showing sudden, impatient irritation, especially over some trifling annoyance: a petulant toss of the head.

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A few images will help define the facial expressions or body language found in the petulant character:

No, you don’t have to write about cats, but this fellow (or girl) says it all in the eyes.  Pretty snarky, right?  The word “snarky” is a synonym for “petulant.”  Looking pretty tough and immoveable, this cat has no intention of playing nice.

And then there’s the young couple having a tiff.  Her back is turned to him, and there’s the slightest hint of a pout in her expression.  Another classic example of petulant behavior.

For our last example, how about an actor who spends a great deal of his time being petulant. If you’ve ever watched House, you know Dr. House can be petulant — or testy, irascible, irritated (and irritating), and more.

If you feel you need more to go on for the word “petulant,” take a look at the list of synonyms and related words at Merriam-Webster.

Image attributions may be found by clicking on the image.

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20 thoughts on “Petulance Can Be So Irritating!

  1. Really a lovely series for A – Z, Sherrey – it’s pleasant, interesting and useful. I’ve had some petulant responses to some of my opinions in the last few days…oh well.

    1. Oh, Belinda, there are some folks who enjoy passing off their petulance in others’ direction. I find your posts illuminating, and I’m certain if there’s something I don’t quite agree with or understand, I could email you without necessity of leaving a petulant word or two. But not everyone is as nice as I am. 🙂

      1. Argh, today was a date of note…not quite sure what to make of it. Actually, maybe I do, so let me venture a guess and you can tell me what you think of it: as we get more confident our voices grow stronger and, therefore, the risk increases for pissing someone off.

  2. Sherrey, thank you for this! I can’t tell you how beneficial this all this for my own writing of novel (when I get down to it after the A-Z challenge)! I have a separate file on you in my computer (sorry if I sound like the FBI) and I really can’t wait to peruse all these beneficial tips and to check out your other writings.What will your ‘Q’ be I wonder? Querulous? Can’t wait whatever it may be!
    Susan Scott’s Soul Stuff

    1. Are you looking over my shoulder, Susan? Your guess on “Q” and your FBI-like files have me wondering. 🙂 Enjoying the banter and the sharing of our writing in this challenge and looking for forward to more sharing in the future.

    1. I was looking for a man with something akin to petulance in his facial expression, and since I really like House and the show, I chose him. I do hope that is an authentic petulant expression!

  3. Petulant, that is not a word I use very often. In fact I can’t recall having used it at all but I found your post about it very interesting.

  4. I’ve never thought of petulant and snarky as being synonyms. I see petulance as the typical 15 year old girl – eye rolls. exasperated sighs at their mother’s stupidity, and storming off at the slightest affront. That girl might grow up to be snarky – sarcastic, biting, critical.

    1. I too was surprised by the synonymous relationship between petulant and snarky. And yes, your 15-year old girl with the rolling eyes, sighs, and stormy moves would indeed be petulant. I agree she would grow up to be snarky. Perhaps that’s where the dictionary gets the two words as synonyms — they’re watching teen-aged girls grow into women! 🙂

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