The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Petition \Pe*ti"tion\, n. [F. p['e]tition, L. petitio, fr.
petere, petitum, to beg, ask, seek; perh. akin to E. feather,
1. A prayer; a supplication; an imploration; an entreaty;
especially, a request of a solemn or formal kind; a prayer
to the Supreme Being, or to a person of superior power,
rank, or authority; also, a single clause in such a
A house of prayer and petition for thy people. --1
Macc. vii. 37.
This last petition heard of all her prayer.
2. A formal written request addressed to an official person,
or to an organized body, having power to grant it.
3. Specifically: (Law), A request to government, in either of
its branches, for the granting of a particular grace or
right, or for the legislature to take a specific action;
-- in distinction from a memorial, which calls certain
facts to mind. The petition may be signed by one or any
number of persons.
[1913 Webster + PJC]
4. The written document containing a petition (senses 1 or
Petition of right (Law), a petition to obtain possession or
restitution of property, either real or personal, from the
Crown, which suggests such a title as controverts the
title of the Crown, grounded on facts disclosed in the
petition itself. --Mozley & W.
The Petition of Right (Eng. Hist.), the parliamentary
declaration of the rights of the people, assented to by