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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 ?
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.**
“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.
Congress might be full of dolts and pettifoggers (sound familiar?).
They say that the Japanese brought MSG to America to be sold as a flavour enhancer, but the MSG pettifoggers accuse them of causing the excitotoxicity problem.
the assembly of pettifoggers run mad in Paris"--then it's easy to surmise that he would have been fearful of all of Europe in the grip of the EU bureaucracy.
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.