pettifoggery


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pet·ti·fog·ger

 (pĕt′ē-fŏg′ər, -fô′gər)
n.
1. A lawyer whose practice involves petty matters or who lacks sound legal judgment or skills.
2. One who quibbles over trivia.

[Probably petty + obsolete fogger, pettifogger (probably akin to obsolete German Fugger, successful merchant, usurer, huckster, after the House of Fugger).]

pet′ti·fog′ v.
pet′ti·fog′ger·y n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.pettifoggery - a quarrel about petty pointspettifoggery - a quarrel about petty points  
dustup, quarrel, run-in, wrangle, row, words - an angry dispute; "they had a quarrel"; "they had words"
References in periodicals archive ?
The horizons of investment and enterprise shrink in an economy where finance is freed from the constraints of time and entrepreneurs are shackled by governmental pettifoggery.
The alternative is litigation and its bedfellows--bluff, pettifoggery, and strife.
After lambasting them as pettifoggers, Walsh was approached by one of them--a Cornelius Terhune--who asked that the masters of pettifoggery not be lumped together with the amateurs.
Rather than challenging the marriage of the university and the capitalist class or fighting for the emancipation of the oppressed worldwide through pedagogies of liberation that have a transnational reach, class antagonisms are universally normalized through the performative pettifoggery, the aerosol spray sophistry, the pseudo-profundities, the convulsions and casuistries of political disengagement and the vertigo-inducing terminology that has distinguished these disquieting hellions of the lecture hall over the past few decades--not to mention their dismissal of class struggle in favor of questions of ethnicity, race, gender and sexuality.
After 36 years since the Bakke case, years of endless pettifoggery -- parsing exactly how many spoonfuls of racial discrimination are permitted in exactly which circumstance -- the court has its epiphany: Let the people decide.
All that pettifoggery was rendered moot on the evening of November 7, when the president kinda-sorta apologized for misleading the country.
Then the cascade of bureaucratic log-rolling and pettifoggery begins, as each new agency is called to the trough.