Word of the Day Archive
Saturday January 20, 2007
pettifogger \PET-ee-fog-ur\ , noun:
1. A petty, unscrupulous lawyer; a shyster.
2. A person who quibbles over trivia.
A more respectable-looking individual was never seen; he really looked what he was, a gentleman of the law -- there was nothing of the pettifogger about him.
-- George Borrow, Lavengro
The nitpickers, the whiners, the pettifoggers are everywhere.
-- Bill Kraus, "Without Health Care Reform, Forget It", Capital Times, December 15, 1993
The case . . . opened my eyes to a problem that doesn't get half the ink lavished on unprincipled pettifoggers but is arguably twice as important.
-- Max Boot, Out of Order
Pettifogger is probably from petty + obsolete fogger, "pettifogger."