verb (used without object), pet·ti·fogged, pet·ti·fog·ging.
Origin of pettifog
Examples from the Web for pettifogger
He perhaps mistakes me for what you call a—a pettifogger, is it not?A Daughter of the Dons|William MacLeod Raine
Pettifogger, pet′i-fog-ėr, n. a lawyer who practises only in paltry cases.
He is always bringing writs of error, like a pettifogger, and reversing of judgments, though the case be never so plain.
The pettifogger capitulates to his invincible adversary, and acknowledges in him one whose dogmas it were irreverent to doubt.
This lawyer, Overend by name, was a sort of pettifogger, who laid himself out for poor men's work.The Life of Thomas Wanless, Peasant|Alexander Johnstone Wilson
British Dictionary definitions for pettifogger (1 of 2)
Word Origin for pettifogger
British Dictionary definitions for pettifogger (2 of 2)
verb -fogs, -fogging or -fogged
Word Origin and History for pettifogger
1560s, from petty; the second element possibly from obsolete Dutch focker, from Flemish focken "to cheat," or from cognate Middle English fugger, from Fugger the renowned family of merchants and financiers of 15c.-16c. Augsburg. In German, Flemish and Dutch, the name became a word for "monopolist, rich man, usurer."
A 'petty Fugger' would mean one who on a small scale practices the dishonourable devices for gain popularly attributed to great financiers; it seems possible that the phrase 'petty fogger of the law,' applied in this sense to some notorious person, may have caught the popular fancy. [OED first edition, in a rare burst of pure speculation]
However, OED also calls attention to pettifactor "legal agent who undertakes small cases" (1580s), which, though attested slightly later, might be the source of this. Related: Pettifoggery.