Peter Pan the hero of J. M. Barrie's play of the same name (1904), a motherless boy with magical powers who never grew up, and who takes the Darling children, Wendy and her brothers, from their unguarded nursery to Never Never Land where he and the Lost Boys struggle against the pirates and Captain Hook. After many adventures, the children go home, but Peter remains in Never Never Land, and Wendy visits him each year to spring-clean the house which he and the Lost Boys had built around her.
Peter Pan's name is used allusively for someone who retains youthful features, or who is immature.
Peter Rabbit the blue-coated rabbit who is one of the main characters in the series of children's stories by Beatrix Potter; The Tale of Peter Rabbit (published privately in 1900) was the first of these.
Peter the Great the name given to Peter I (1672–1725), tsar of Russia 1682–1725. Peter modernized his armed forces before waging the Great Northern War (1700–21) and expanding his territory in the Baltic. His extensive administrative reforms were instrumental in transforming Russia into a significant European power.
Peter the Hermit (c.1050–1115), a French monk. His preaching on the First Crusade was a rallying cry for thousands of peasants throughout Europe to journey to the Holy Land; most were massacred by the Turks in Asia Minor. Peter later became prior of an Augustinian monastery in Flanders.
Peter the Wild Boy (1712–85), found living wild in the woods of Hanover in 1724, and believed by many to have been reared by animals; he was taken to England and presented to George I.
St Peter is regarded by Roman Catholics as the first bishop of the Church at Rome, where he is said to have been martyred in about ad 67, traditionally by being crucified upside down. He is often represented as the keeper of the door of heaven, and his emblem is a pair of keys. His feast day is 29 June.
Peter's pence an annual tax of one penny from every householder having land of a certain value, paid to the papal see at Rome from Anglo-Saxon times until discontinued in 1534 after Henry VIII's break with Rome. In the Roman Catholic Church, it is a name given to the collection taken in churches on the feast of St Peter and St Paul.
St Peter ad Vincula a church dedication meaning ‘St Peter in chains’, the reference is to the story in Acts 12, which tells of Peter's imprisonment ‘bound with two chains’, and of how he was miraculously released from his chains by an angel.
St Peter's fish any of several fishes having a mark on each side of the body, alluding to the touch of St Peter's thumb and finger when he caught the fish whose mouth contained the tribute-money (Matthew 17:27).
St Peter's keys the cross keys (one gold and one silver, representing the power to bind and loose) borne in the papal coat of arms.
Peter (epistles of the New Testament)
Peter, two letters of the New Testament, classified among the Catholic (or General) Epistles. Each opens with a statement of authorship by the apostle St. Peter. First Peter, the longer book, is addressed from
to the Christians of the churches of Asia Minor. The work opens with a reminder of the hope of redemption and an exhortation to holiness, then passes to duties of Christians—obedience to the state, and the obligation of slaves to their masters, wives to husbands, husbands to wives, and all to each other. This leads to consolation and encouragement under persecution. The conclusion is exhortatory. While the ascription to Peter has been often doubted by modern scholars who generally date the work to c.AD 100, the letter was accepted as Petrine and canonical from the earliest times. Second Peter, however, is almost universally recognized as pseudonymous, and is dated by many scholars as late as AD 150. It was one of the last New Testament books to be admitted to the canon. In the face of the delayed second coming of Jesus, the author exhorts the readers to godly living, warning against scoffers and false teachers and affirming that the second coming will happen. Parts of Second Peter are adapted from the letter of Jude.
See R. J. Bauckham, 2 Peter and Jude (1983); J. R. Michaels, 1 Peter (1988); P. H. Davids, 1 Peter (1990).
pe·ter1 / ˈpētər/ • v. [intr.] decrease or fade gradually before coming to an end: the storm had petered out. pe·ter2 • n. inf. a man's penis.
Pe·ter / ˈpētər/ • n. either of two books of the New Testament, epistles ascribed to St. Peter.
Peter Principle the principle that members of a hierarchy are promoted until they reach the level at which they are no longer competent; named after Laurence J. Peter (1919–90), the American educationalist who put forward the theory.