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 (pĕt′ē-fŏg′ər, -fô′gər)
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.


1. (Law) a lawyer of inferior status who conducts unimportant cases, esp one who is unscrupulous or resorts to trickery
2. any person who quibbles or fusses over details
[C16: from petty + fogger, of uncertain origin, perhaps from Fugger, name of a family (C15–16) of German financiers]
ˈpettiˌfoggery n


1. a lawyer whose practice is of a small or petty character; a lawyer of little importance.
2. a shyster lawyer. — pettifoggery, n.
See also: Law
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.pettifogger - a person (especially a lawyer or politician) who uses unscrupulous or unethical methodspettifogger - a person (especially a lawyer or politician) who uses unscrupulous or unethical methods
offender, wrongdoer - a person who transgresses moral or civil law
2.pettifogger - a disputant who quibbles; someone who raises annoying petty objections
malcontent - a person who is discontented or disgusted
References in classic literature ?
He is a pettifogger, and surely must know that there is such a thing as feloniously breaking into a man’s house.
So that thousands of poor English people trembled before a mysterious chieftain with an ancient destiny and a diadem of evil stars--when they are really trembling before a guttersnipe who was a pettifogger and a pawnbroker not twelve years ago.
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!
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.
A one-G lager dulls the mind, A two-G lagger, left behind, But I'll bet you a pettifogger you never met a three-G laaager.
No lawyer but a pettifogger would admit to arguing for bad science that violates the public trust.
A running loop of his films is currently on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (through month's end), and on March 8 and 9 the Museum of the Moving Image in New York will present a substantial program of his digital work, including The Pettifogger (2011), his first feature-length movie, and the world premiere of a new series, the "False Aging" trilogy (2008-12).
A pettifogger is defined as one who pretends to be a lawyer but who possesses neither knowledge, law, nor conscience.
In short, there is no distinction or subordination left The different departments of life are jumbled together--the hod-carrier, the low mechanic, the tapster, the publican, the shop-keeper, the pettifogger, the citizen, and courtier, all tread upon the kibes of one another: actuated by the demons of profligacy and licentiousness, they are seen every where, rambling, riding, rolling, rushing, justling, mixing, bouncing, cracking, and crashing in one vile ferment of stupidity and corruption--All is tumult and hurry.
We have also lawyer Pippin, no bad type of a village pettifogger in any land, while in the characters of Colonel Colleton, his daughter, and nephew, are exhibited fine specimens of the dignified aristocracy of the south.