AskDefine | Define petting

Dictionary Definition

pet adj : preferred above all others and treated with partiality; "the favored child" [syn: favored, favorite(a), favourite(a), preferred]


1 a domesticated animal kept for companionship or amusement
2 a special loved one [syn: darling, favorite, favourite, dearie, deary, ducky]
3 a fit of petulance or sulkiness (especially at what is felt to be a slight)
4 using a computerized radiographic technique to examine the metabolic activity in various tissues (especially in the brain) [syn: positron emission tomography]


1 stroke or caress gently; "pet the lamb"
2 stroke or caress in an erotic manner, as during lovemaking [also: petting, petted]petting n : affectionate play (or foreplay without contact with the genital organs) [syn: caressing, cuddling, fondling, hugging, kissing, necking, smooching, snuggling]petting See pet

User Contributed Dictionary

see Petting




  1. present participle of pet


  1. The act of stroking or fondling an animal.
  2. The act of kissing, stroking, etc., a person in a sexual manner.


stroking or fondling an animal
kissing, stroking, etc., in a sexual manner

Derived terms

See also

Extensive Definition

Petting is the affectionate act of stroking, brushing or caressing an animal's fur, scratching its ears, rubbing its belly etc., for mutual enjoyment. Grooming behavior in some animals is similar to petting, but generally the verb "pet" refers to a human petting a nonhuman animal or another human being.

As reward

Petting an animal can act as a reward when training an intelligent animal such as a dog, rather than to reward behavior with food. Affection training enthusiasts say that food should be given only at mealtimes. An affectionate ruffling of the neck fur, a scratch behind the ears, or a kind word may work quicker and be more humane than 'treats.'


Different animals respond well to different types of petting, even within the same species: one cat may enjoy a light scratch, just between its eyes, while another cat may demand to be kneaded like a loaf of bread. A dog might like to be brushed, a horse may prefer a curry comb rubbed in circles, whilst parrots can enjoy having the tops of their heads gently scratched, against the grain of their plumage.
Some animals, including many cats, seem to hate being petted in the reverse direction from the way their fur goes, so much so that to "rub someone the wrong way" is an idiomatic way of saying that an action annoys someone.

Between humans

By extension, between humans, petting also means affectionate stroking and caressing. In the latter case the term often has a sexual connotation, eg. ("heavy petting").
petting in Bulgarian: Петинг
petting in Czech: Petting
petting in Danish: Petting
petting in German: Petting
petting in Spanish: Petting
petting in Italian: Petting
petting in Lithuanian: Glamonės
petting in Japanese: ペッティング
petting in Norwegian Nynorsk: Petting
petting in Polish: Petting
petting in Russian: Петтинг
petting in Slovak: Petting
petting in Swedish: Petting
petting in Ukrainian: Петинг

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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