- insignificant; petty: pettifogging details.
- dishonest or unethical in insignificant matters; meanly petty.
Origin of 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
Related Words for pettifoggingniggle, 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 pettifogging
Historical Examples of pettifogging
The issues involved are too big and far-reaching for pettifogging methods.The Root of Evil
Why, you would not take such a pettifogging advantage of an old comrade as that.White Lies
It was just as well not to have a pettifogging lawyer to deal with.The Slave of Silence
Fred M. White
None of your pettifogging tribe for me: I shall step to the front, and stay there.For Faith and Freedom
The pettifogging of disobliging illwill could go no further.
- pettypettifogging details
- mean; quibblingpettifogging lawyers
- (intr) to be a pettifogger
Word Origin and History for pettifogging
1570s as a verbal noun; c.1600 as a past participle adjective; see pettifogger. A verb pettifog is rare and attested only from 1640s.