Pet peeve

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A pet peeve, pet aversion or pet hate is a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as 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 The Little Pet Peeve in the Chicago Tribune during the period 1916 - 1920. The Little Pet Peeve was created and drawn by Frank King,[2] who is more famous as the creator of the Gasoline Alley comic strip.[3] King's little pet peeves were humorous critiques of generally thoughtless behaviors. Some were particular to his time, such as people reading the titles in silent films out loud, or cracking an egg only to smell that it's gone rotten. Others seem current over a hundred years later, like backseat drivers, and rugs that are forever catching the bottom of the door and bunching up. King's readers submitted some of the little pet peeves, 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 & examples[edit]

Pet peeves often involve specific behaviours of someone close, such as a spouse or significant other.[5] These behaviours 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 to others. For example, a supervisor may have a pet peeve about people leaving the lid on the copier up and react angrily, be annoyed when others interrupt when speaking, or be upset by messy desks of their subordinates.[7] To most people, these may seem minor annoyances, but not to the supervisor. That same supervisor may witness employees coming into work late and not feel any annoyance whatsoever.

Pet Peeve is the twenty-ninth book of the Xanth series by fantasy author Piers Anthony.[8]


  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.
  8. ^ Janet Husband; Jonathan F. Husband (2009). Sequels: An Annotated Guide to Novels in Series. American Library Association. p. 26. ISBN 978-0-8389-0967-6.

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