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pettifog

[pet-ee-fog, -fawg]
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verb (used without object), pet·ti·fogged, pet·ti·fog·ging.
  1. to bicker or quibble over trifles or unimportant matters.
  2. to carry on a petty, shifty, or unethical law business.
  3. to practice chicanery of any sort.
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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 formspet·ti·fog·ger, nounpet·ti·fog·ger·y, noun
Can be confusedambulance chaser mouthpiece pettifogger shyster
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for pettifog

niggle, bicker, wrangle, hassle, prevaricate, fence, avoid, flip-flop, spar, dispute, cavil, squabble, nitpick, carp, waffle, criticize, shift, pretend, evade, equivocate

Examples from the Web for pettifog

Historical Examples of pettifog

  • The popular understanding of the word criticize is to find fault, to pettifog.

    Plum Pudding

    Christopher Morley


British Dictionary definitions for pettifog

pettifog

verb -fogs, -fogging or -fogged
  1. (intr) to be a pettifogger
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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