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American Dictionary of the English Language

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Petition


PETI'TION, noun [Latin petitio, from peto, to ask, properly to urge or press.]

1. In a general sense, a request, supplication or prayer; but chiefly and appropriately, a solemn or formal supplication; a prayer addressed by a person to the Supreme Being, for something needed or desired, or a branch or particular article of prayer.

2. A formal request or supplication, verbal or written; particularly, a written supplication from an inferior to a superior, either to a single person clothed with power, or to a legislative or other body, soliciting some favor, grant, right or mercy.

3. The paper containing a supplication or solicitation. Much of the time of our legislative bodies is consumed in attending to private petitions. The speaker's table is often loaded with petitions. Petitions to the king of Great Britain must contain nothing reflecting on the administration.

PETI'TION, verb transitive To make a request to; to ask from; to solicit; particularly, to make supplication to a superior for some favor or right; as, to petition the legislature; to petition a court of chancery.

The mother petitioned her goddess to bestow on them the greatest gift that could be given.