verb (pettifogs, pettifogging, pettifogged)[no object] rare
1.1 archaic Practice legal deception or trickery.
- 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.
- 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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