from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Plural form of pettifogger.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • He started small, taking what work he could get, and arguing against cheap amateur lawyers called pettifoggers in other words, the competition.

    America's First Dynasty

  • It maintains luxurious lobbies* at every state capital, and at the national capital; and in all the cities and towns of the land it employs an immense army of pettifoggers and small politicians whose business is to attend primaries, pack conventions, get on juries, bribe judges, and in every way to work for its interests.

    Chapter 9: The Mathematics of a Dream

  • Although this quote, from a book on the Vietnam War, was referring to the deliberate underestimating of enemy troop strength by certain military generals and administration officials during that war in order to falsely project American victory and draw attention away from mounting American casualties, I fear that the phrase about becoming "a nation of pettifoggers" may be more true today than it was back then.

    Coleen Rowley: The Law School Commencement Speech that Alberto Gonzales Did Not Give

  • In any event, we can afford a few of you becoming non-conformists but we certainly can't afford any of this Class of 2007 becoming pettifoggers.

    Coleen Rowley: The Law School Commencement Speech that Alberto Gonzales Did Not Give

  • You can always go back to the ivory tower and the gated community and debate arcane points of the law with pretentious pettifoggers.

    I think I'm going to have to stop watching "American Idol."

  • John Adams complained, in 1759, that the “practice of Law was grasped into the hands of deputy sheriffs, pettifoggers and even constables who filled all the writs upon bonds, promissory notes, and accounts, received the fees established for lawyers, and stirred up many unnecessary suits.”

    A History of American Law

  • In the late 17th century, justices of the peace, sheriffs, and clerks, acted as attorneys in New Jersey.155 In the literature, there are constant complaints against unauthorized lawyers, pettifoggers, shysters, and lowlifes—unprincipled men stirring up unprincipled litigation.

    A History of American Law

  • [2028] Et noxia callidilate se corripere, such a multitude of pettifoggers and empirics, such impostors, that an honest man knows not in what sort to compose and behave himself in their society, to carry himself with credit in so vile a rout, scientiae nomen, tot sumptibus partum et vigiliis, profiteri dispudeat, postquam, &c.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • But, what of the hundreds of thousands of minds that have been deformed for ever by the incapable pettifoggers who have pretended to form them!

    Nicholas Nickleby

  • That duty may be seen as burdensome and unwelcome by whey-faced Whitehall pettifoggers and their political glovepuppets, but a declaration of 'Civis Britanicus Sum' shouted from the farthest corner of the world must if necessary mobilise the entire resources of the nation to answer.

    Memories of the Falklands


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