Definition of pettifogger in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpedēfôɡər/


An inferior legal practitioner, especially one who deals with petty cases or employs dubious practices.
Example sentences
  • While the law asserts otherwise, Truth's activism demonstrates the capacity of disfranchised Americans to seize legal agency, to demand a voice ‘among the pettifoggers.’
  • Ames's tavern sign, then, plays on the tension between lawyers with formal legal training like Dudley, and village tavern keepers and pettifoggers like Ames himself.
  • In such an argument there would always be matter for answers, rejoinders, replications, triplications, quadruplications, and that infinite web of disputes that our pettifoggers have spun out as far as they could in favor of lawsuits.


Mid 16th century: from petty + obsolete fogger 'underhanded dealer', probably from Fugger, the name of a family of merchants in Augsburg, Germany, in the 15th and 16th centuries.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pet·ti·fog·ger

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