from The Century Dictionary.

  • To play the pettifogger; do small business as a lawyer.
  • noun A confusing fog or mist: in allusion to pettifog, v.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb colloq. To advocate like a pettifogger; to argue trickily.
  • intransitive verb To do a petty business as a lawyer; also, to do law business in a petty or tricky way.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb To quibble over trivial matters; nitpick

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb argue over petty things


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Back-formation from pettifogger.


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  • "Men were strange: it would never have occurred to her that Walter was capable of such baseness, and yet you never knew; perhaps his seriousness was merely a mask for a mean and pettifogging nature."

    - The Painted Veil, W. Somerset Maugham

    September 23, 2007

  • The castle, which was our only tangible resource, was unfortunately mortgaged to several creditors, the principal of whom was one Bernard Astuto. Cunning by name, and cunning by nature! He practised as an attorney at Valencia, and bore his faculties in all the infamy of pettifogging; law and equity conspired in his person to push the trade of cozening and swindling to the utmost extremity.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 5 ch. 1

    September 19, 2008

  • I want, against my better judgment, for this word to be pettifrog.

    September 19, 2008