Meaning of “pet” in the English Dictionary

"pet" in British English

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petnoun [ C ]

uk /pet/ us /pet/

pet noun [ C ] (ANIMAL)

A1 an animal that is kept in the home as a companion and treated kindly:

They have several pets - a dog, two rabbits, and a guinea pig.
a pet snake

More examples

  • Doctors have discovered that keeping a pet can do wonders for your health.
  • my pet dog
  • Some people are really soppy about their pets.
  • There was a fashion for keeping reptiles as pets.
  • Old people often rely on pets for comfort and companionship in their twilight years.

pet noun [ C ] (PERSON)

be sb's pet disapproving

to be the person that someone in authority likes best and treats better than anyone else:

The other children hated her because she was the teacher's pet.

informal approving a kind person who is easy to like:

He's always sending me flowers - he's a real pet!

UK informal a friendly way of talking to someone, especially a woman or a child:

Thank you, pet.


uk /pet/ us /pet/ -tt-


uk /pet/ us /pet/

(Definition of “pet” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"pet" in American English

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petnoun [ C ]

us /pet/

pet noun [ C ] (ANIMAL)

an animal that is kept in the home as a companion and treated affectionately:

She has several interesting pets, including a couple of snakes.

petadjective [ not gradable ]

us /pet/

pet adjective [ not gradable ] (LIKED)

especially liked or personally important:

The legislation will face strong opposition from senators whose pet projects would be cut back.

petverb [ I/T ]

us /pet/ -tt-

pet verb [ I/T ] (TOUCH)

to touch an animal or person gently and affectionately with the hands:

[ T ] Our dog loves to be petted and tickled behind the ears.

(Definition of “pet” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)