Etymology
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petting (n.)

1873, "fondling, indulgence," verbal noun from pet (v.). Meaning "amorous caressing, foreplay" is from 1920 (in F. Scott Fitzgerald).

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Definitions of petting

petting (n.)
affectionate play (or foreplay without contact with the genital organs);
Synonyms: caressing / cuddling / fondling / hugging / kissing / necking / smooching / snuggling
From wordnet.princeton.edu