Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


I should be sorry to see the poem "peter out," or "soak in."

She's a rich one, and bein' so rich at the start she'll peter out fast, I take it.

"Going to peter out I reckon," Abe answered with a sorrowful look.

Even rejoicings can get overfed and peter out into ginger tea.

They might, indeed, "peter out" as the expression is, but it did not seem likely.

I suspicioned he'd peter out when Pap Spooner died, but he fooled us the worst kind.

I wouldn't be a whole lot surprised if they give us an awful fight before they peter out.

Before Christmas, though, she began to peter out 'n' git slack-twisted.

Then all I hope is the storm will peter out before dawn, so we can start for the river right away.

You've had water three times to our once, and yet you go to work and peter out with Chuckwalla Tanks only five miles away.


masc. proper name, 12c., from Old English Petrus (genitive Pet(e)res, dative Pet(e)re), from Latin Petrus, from Greek Petros, literally "stone, rock," translation of Syriac kefa "stone" (Latinized as Cephas), nickname Jesus gave to apostle Simon Bar-Jona (Matt. xvi:17), historically known as St. Peter, and consequently a popular name among Christians (e.g. Italian Pietro, Spanish and Portuguese Pedro, Old French Pierres, French Pierre, etc.). Slang for "penis" is attested from 1902, probably from identity of first syllable.

The common form of this very common name in medieval England was Peres (Anglo-French Piers), hence surnames Pierce, Pearson, etc. Among the diminutive forms were Parkin and Perkin. To rob Peter to pay Paul (1510s, also in early 17c. French as descouvrir S. Pierre pour couvrir S. Pol) might be a reference to the many churches dedicated to those two saints, and have sprung from the fairly common practice of building or enriching one church with the ruins or revenues of another. But the alliterative pairing of the two names is attested from c.1400 with no obvious connection to the saints:


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.