AskDefine | Define petulance

Dictionary Definition

petulance n : an irritable petulant feeling [syn: irritability, crossness, fretfulness, fussiness, peevishness, choler]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Noun

  1. The property of being petulant.

Extensive Definition

Annoyance (also called pother) is an unpleasant mental state that is characterized by such effects as irritation and distraction from one's conscious thinking. It can lead to emotions such as frustration and anger. The property of being easily annoyed is called petulance.

Etymology

"Annoy" (like the French ennui, a word traced by etymologists to a Latin phrase, in odio esse, to be "in hatred" or hateful of someone), to vex or affect with irritation. In the sense of "nuisance," the noun "annoyance" is found in the English "Jury of Annoyance" appointed by an act of 1754 to report upon obstructions in the highways.

Psychology

Various reasons exist for why one finds particular stimuli annoying. Measurement of annoyance is highly subjective. As an attempt at measurement, psychological studies on annoyance often rely on their subjects' own ratings of levels of annoyance on a scale.
Many stimuli that one is at first neutral to, or even finds pleasant, can turn into annoyances from repeated continued exposure. One can often encounter this phenomenon with such media as popular music, commercials, and advertising jingles, which by their very nature are continually repeated over a period of weeks or months.
A study published in the International Journal of Conflict Management found that one's response to an annoyance, at least when the perceived cause is another person, escalate to more extreme levels as they go unresolved. It also found that one was more likely to blame the party who was causing the annoyance in the study, rather than one's self, for the annoyance as it escalated.
Psychological warfare can involve creating annoyances to distract and wear down the resistance of the target. For example, in 1993 the FBI played music "specifically selected for its irritation ability" on loudspeakers outside the Branch Davidian church in Waco, Texas in an attempt to bring about the surrender of David Koresh and his followers.

Effects

Annoyance can cause stress, leading to high blood pressure.

Annoyance in United States law

The Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 made the communication of anything "indecent with the intent to annoy" a felony punishable by a fine and up to two-year imprisonment. President Bill Clinton signed the CDA into law after it was passed by Congress in February 1996.

Popular Culture

Annoyance and annoyances have often been made the subjects of humor and amusement.
In many comedic double acts humor comes from the annoyance that the comic's actions create for the comic foil. An act may also feature a person dealing violently with the annoying other (such as Punch and Judy)

Software

Annoyances are used to measure how well a software program conforms to (or competes against) user expectations about how a particular feature or package should work. Individual annoyances are routinely archived and catalogued by users and reviewers. Such archives often include "annoyance busters" or "workarounds" that can be used to resolve or ameliorate the irritating effects. For top-selling software titles, archives of annoyances and workarounds are often published.

References

petulance in Czech: Afekt
petulance in German: Ärger
petulance in Dutch: Verdriet

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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