Pet peeve

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A pet peeve, pet aversion, or pet hate is a minor annoyance that an individual finds particularly irritating to them, to a greater degree than would be expected based on the experience of others.

Origin of the concept[edit]

The noun peeve, meaning an annoyance, is believed to have originated in the United States early in the twentieth century, derived by back-formation from the adjective peevish, meaning "ornery or ill-tempered", which dates from the late 14th-century.[1]

The term pet peeve was introduced to a wide readership in the single-panel comic strip The Little Pet Peeve in the Chicago Tribune during the period 1916–1920. The strip was created by cartoonist Frank King,[2] who also created the long-running Gasoline Alley strip.[3] King's "little pet peeves" were humorous critiques of generally thoughtless behaviors and nuisance frustrations. Examples included people reading the inter-titles in silent films aloud, cracking an egg only to smell that it's gone rotten, back-seat drivers, and rugs that keep catching the bottom of the door and bunching up. King's readers submitted topics, including theater goers who unwrap candy in crinkly paper during a live performance, and (from a 12 year old boy) having his mother come in to sweep when he has the pieces of a building toy spread out on the floor.[4]

Current usage and examples[edit]

Pet peeves often involve specific behaviors of someone close, such as a spouse or significant other.[5] These behaviors may involve disrespect, manners, personal hygiene, relationships, and family issues.[6] A key aspect of a pet peeve is that it may well seem acceptable or insignificant to others, while the person is likewise not bothered by things that might upset others. For example, a supervisor may have a pet peeve about people leaving the lid up on the copier, when others interrupt when speaking, or their subordinates having messy desks.[7]


  1. ^ Barnhart, Robert K., ed. (1988). Chambers Dictionary of Etymology. Edinburgh: Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd. p. 770. ISBN 0-550-14230-4.
  2. ^ "King Comics: Daily and Sunday". Editor & Publisher: 1. March 8, 1919.
  3. ^ "King, Creator of 'Gasoline Alley,' Dies". Chicago Tribune. June 25, 1969. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Chicago Tribune".
  5. ^ Kowalski, Robin M. (2003). Complaining, Teasing, and Other Annoying Behaviors. Yale University Press.
  6. ^ James, Leon. "Congressional Testimony on Road Rage".
  7. ^ Green, Thad B., Jay T Knippen (1999). Breaking the Barrier to Upward Communication. Quorum/Greenwood. pp. 34–37.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

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