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pilpul

[pil-poo l]
noun
  1. a method of disputation among rabbinical scholars regarding the interpretation of Talmudic rules and principles or Scripture that involves the development of careful and often excessively subtle distinctions.
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Origin of pilpul

1890–95; < Aramaic, Hebrew pilpūl, akin to pilpēl to search, debate
Related formspil·pul·ist, nounpil·pul·is·tic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018