easily irritated or annoyed, having a bad temper or complaining a lot.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



cranky, irritable, touchy, testy, irascible


good-natured, easy-going, affable, genial

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun peevishness, peevishnesses
Verb None
Adjective peevish
Adverb peevishly

Example Sentences

  • The peevish customer complained about every little detail, making it difficult for the staff to satisfy their demands.

  • After a long day of work, Sarah was in a peevish mood and found herself easily irritated by the slightest inconvenience.

  • His peevish demeanor and constant grumbling made him unpopular among his colleagues, who found it hard to engage in productive conversations with him.

  • The child’s peevish behavior was a result of tiredness and hunger, causing them to throw tantrums and fuss over small matters.


The word “peevish” originated in the late 14th century and is derived from the Middle English word “pevis,” which means “perverse” or “sullen.” It can be traced back to the Old English word “pēaf,” meaning “grief” or “sorrow.” The suffix “-ish” is added to indicate a tendency or inclination towards a particular quality.

“Peevish” is an adjective used to describe someone who is easily irritated, bad-tempered, or prone to expressing annoyance or dissatisfaction. It suggests a disposition towards being irritable, complaining, or finding faults in others. The word conveys a sense of pettiness and a tendency to be displeased with trivial matters.

Prefixes and suffixes are not commonly used with the word “peevish.” However, variations of the word may include “peevishly” (adverb) and “peevishness” (noun), which further emphasize the characteristics of being easily irritated or expressing annoyance.

The usage of “peevish” is typically negative and implies an unpleasant temperament or disposition. It is often employed to describe someone’s temporary or ongoing state of irritability. The term can apply to various situations and individuals, such as a peevish child throwing tantrums, a peevish customer complaining incessantly, or a peevish colleague expressing discontent with minor issues. It is important to note that “peevish” is not a strong word when compared to others like “angry” or “irate,” but it still conveys annoyance or irritation. The word can be used in both social and professional contexts, and is often used to describe someone who is being unreasonable or difficult. Overall, “peevish” is a word that can be used to describe someone’s behavior and attitude, especially when they are being uncooperative or difficult to please.