Pet"it (?), a. [F. See Petty.]

Small; little; insignificant; mean; -- Same as Petty.

[Obs., except in legal language.]

By what small, petit hints does the mind catch hold of and recover a vanishing notion. South.

Petit constable, an inferior civil officer, subordinate to the high constable. -- Petit jury, a jury of twelve men, impaneled to try causes at the bar of a court; -- so called in distinction from the grand jury. -- Petit larceny, the stealing of goods of, or under, a certain specified small value; -- opposed to grand larceny. The distinction is abolished in England. -- Petit maitre (). [F., lit., little master.] A fop; a coxcomb; a ladies' man. Goldsmith. -- Petit serjeanty Eng.Law, the tenure of lands of the crown, by the service of rendering annually some implement of war, as a bow, an arrow, a sword, a flag, etc. -- Petit treason, formerly, in England, the crime of killing a person to whom the offender owed duty or subjection, as one's husband, master, mistress, etc. The crime is now not distinguished from murder.

 

© Webster 1913.

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