[pet-ee-fog, -fawg]
See more synonyms for pettifog on
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.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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


verb -fogs, -fogging or -fogged
  1. (intr) 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