Definition of pettifog in English:


Syllabification: pet·ti·fog
Pronunciation: /ˈpetēˌfôg, ˈpetēˌfäg

verb (pettifogs, pettifogging, pettifogged)

[no object] rare
  • 1Quibble about petty points.
  • 1.1 archaic Practice legal deception or trickery.
    More example sentences
    • He probably thought the auditors were pettifogging about practices ‘everyone does’ and that different auditors wouldn't be so picky.
    • They have obfuscated, delayed, lied, backtracked, pettifogged, and cancelled all sorts of commitments under the informal and formal rubrics of the Oslo process.



Pronunciation: /ˌpetēˈfôgərē, -ˈfäg-/
More example sentences
  • The theological pettifoggery of their literalistic religion has to be read to be believed.
  • Seeing through Julia's pettifoggery, the judge overruled her frivolous objection.
  • Pettifoggery has come to mean legal chicanery, and last week a Senate subcommittee consultant used the word to describe a weakness of U.S. negotiators in dealing with Communist powers.


early 17th century: back-formation from pettifogger.

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Pronunciation: ˌkɒlərəˈtjʊərə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody