He is petite.

Tan Elaine

Key Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
English
Home Country
Hong Kong
Current Location
Hong Kong
He is petite.

Is 'petite' used correctly?

Thanks.
 

emsr2d2

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
"Petite" is usually used in the UK to refer to a small women's clothing size. We don't often use the word to describe people. I have never seen a men's clothing section described as petite. I'm going to say no, it's not a natural sentence.

The other reason it looks wrong to me, as a French speaker, is that "petite" is the feminine form of the adjective so would not be used to describe a masculine noun (or a male person).
 

Rover_KE

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
Elaine, did you not like the 10 replies you got from WordReference?
 

Tan Elaine

Key Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
English
Home Country
Hong Kong
Current Location
Hong Kong
Elaine, did you not like the 10 replies you got from WordReference?

No, the replies contain different views, unlike emsr's reply, which explicitly states that 'petite' cannot be used of a male person.

I'm sorry, about forgotting to mention that I had posted to WordReference.
 
Last edited:

Tan Elaine

Key Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
English
Home Country
Hong Kong
Current Location
Hong Kong

Thanks, teechar, for pointing out the typo and the inadvertent insertion of a comma. I think it's caused by an ageing brain.
 

teechar

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
Iraq
Current Location
Iraq

andrewg927

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2017
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
With the caveat that I don't often use French, I would consider "that boy is petite" is okay if the boy is really short and skinny.
 

emsr2d2

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
I agree that it doesn't suggest skinny. In the "petite" section of women's clothes shops, the emphasis is on clothes for short women. The size ranges are no different from the ranges in the rest of the shop (S/M/L/XL or size 8 to size 18) - they're just aimed at shorter women.
 

GoesStation

No Longer With Us
Joined
Dec 22, 2015
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
I don't think I've ever seen petite used for a male in American English. It's strictly for women and particularly, women's clothing.
 

andrewg927

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2017
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
I don't think I've ever seen petite used for a male in American English. It's strictly for women and particularly, women's clothing.

I may have heard someone call a boy petite. It's very rare but not completely unheard of.
 

Tan Elaine

Key Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
English
Home Country
Hong Kong
Current Location
Hong Kong
I thought 'petite' was used of females only, but from the replies, it seems that it is not so clear-cut.
 

andrewg927

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2017
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
No, petite is almost exclusively used for women, especially women's clothing. In rare cases, you might hear someone address a boy that way but please don't go around calling grown men petite. I would take it as offensive.
 
Top