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pettifog

[ pet-ee-fog, -fawg ]
/ ˈpɛt iˌfɒg, -ˌfɔg /
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SEE MORE SYNONYMS FOR pettifog ON THESAURUS.COM

verb (used without object), pet·ti·fogged, pet·ti·fog·ging.

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.

RELATED WORDS

Nearby words

petticoat, petticoat breeches, petticoat insulator, petticoat narcissus, petticoated, pettifog, pettifogger, pettifogging, pettily, petting, petting zoo

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. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for pettifogger (1 of 2)

pettifogger

/ (ˈpɛtɪˌfɒɡə) /

noun

a lawyer of inferior status who conducts unimportant cases, esp one who is unscrupulous or resorts to trickery
any person who quibbles or fusses over details
Derived Formspettifoggery, noun

Word Origin for pettifogger

C16: from petty + fogger, of uncertain origin, perhaps from Fugger, name of a family (C15–16) of German financiers

British Dictionary definitions for pettifogger (2 of 2)

pettifog

/ (ˈpɛtɪˌfɒɡ) /

verb -fogs, -fogging or -fogged

(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

Word Origin and History for pettifogger

pettifogger


n.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper