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petit jury a group of twelve citizens selected to witness a civil or criminal trial and empowered to decide, after discussing the evidence and issues presented, whether a defendant is guilty or not. (Cf. grand jury.)
petit larceny see petty larceny.
petit mal a form of epilepsy characterized by unconsciousness for short periods of time, but usu. no convulsions. (Cf. grand mal.)
petit point embroidery done on a canvas backing and resembling woven tapestry. [2 definitions]
petnapping the stealing of pets in order to sell them, as for use in laboratory experiments.
Petrarch an Italian poet; Francesco Petrarca (1304-74).
Petrarchan sonnet an Italian sonnet form made popular by Petrarch, consisting of an octave and a sestet. (Cf. Shakespearean sonnet.)
petrel any of various related sea birds usu. found far from shore, esp. the storm petrel.
petri dish a shallow, round, transparent glass or plastic dish with an overlapping cover, used for culturing bacteria and other microorganisms.
petrify to turn (organic matter) into stone. [4 definitions]
petro- rock; stone. [2 definitions]
petrochemical a chemical derivative of petroleum or natural gas, such as gasoline.
petrodollar (usu. pl.) funds accumulated by an oil-exporting country as part of a surplus in its trade balance, esp. when they are then lent to or invested in other countries.
petroglyph a drawing or carving on rock, esp. from prehistoric times.
petrography the scientific description and classification of rocks.
petrol (chiefly British) a volatile, flammable liquid of hydrocarbons, derived from petroleum and used primarily as fuel for internal-combustion engines; gasoline.
petrolatum a colorless or yellowish, translucent, greasy, semisolid petroleum derivative used as a lubricant and in medical ointments; petroleum jelly.
petroleum a thick, flammable mineral oil obtained by drilling beneath the earth's surface and processed into various fuels and lubricants, naphtha, paraffin, and other products.
petroleum jelly petrolatum.
petrology the scientific study and classification of rocks.
petropolitics (used with a sing. or pl. verb) the management or influencing of international relations based on control of the amount of petroleum available on the world market.