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 ?
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.