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pettifogging

[pet-ee-fog-ing, -faw-ging] /ˈpɛt iˌfɒg ɪŋ, -ˌfɔ gɪŋ/
adjective
1.
insignificant; petty:
pettifogging details.
2.
dishonest or unethical in insignificant matters; meanly petty.
Origin
1570-1580
1570-80; see pettifog, -ing2

pettifog

[pet-ee-fog, -fawg] /ˈpɛt iˌfɒg, -ˌfɔg/
verb (used without object), pettifogged, pettifogging.
1.
to bicker or quibble over trifles or unimportant matters.
2.
to carry on a petty, shifty, or unethical law business.
3.
to practice chicanery of any sort.
Origin
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 forms
pettifogger, noun
pettifoggery, noun
Can be confused
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for pettifogging

pettifogging

/ˈpɛtɪˌfɒɡɪŋ/
adjective
1.
petty: pettifogging details
2.
mean; quibbling: pettifogging lawyers

pettifog

/ˈpɛtɪˌfɒɡ/
verb -fogs, -fogging, -fogged
1.
(intransitive) 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
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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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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