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[pet-ee-fog, -fawg] /ˈpɛt iˌfɒg, -ˌfɔg/
verb (used without object), pettifogged, pettifogging.
to bicker or quibble over trifles or unimportant matters.
to carry on a petty, shifty, or unethical law business.
to practice chicanery of any sort.
Origin of pettifog
1605-15; back formation from pettifogger, equivalent to petty + fogger < Middle Low German voger or Middle Dutch voeger one who arranges things; akin to Old English gefōg a joining
Related forms
pettifogger, noun
pettifoggery, noun
Can be confused Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for pettifoggery
Historical Examples
  • Poor Athenians who are accused of pettifoggery and sophistry!

    The Ego and His Own Max Stirner
  • It was with pettifoggery and intrigues that Greek liberty ended.

    The Ego and His Own Max Stirner
  • What then is pettifoggery but a way of utilizing something established without doing away with it?

    The Ego and His Own Max Stirner
British Dictionary definitions for pettifoggery


verb -fogs, -fogging, -fogged
(intransitive) to be a pettifogger
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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