One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Placing undue emphasis on petty details; petty or trivial.‘pettifogging attorneys were the bane of civil society’
trivial, unimportant, insignificant, inconsequential, petty, minor, of little account, of no account, of little consequence, of no consequence, not worth mentioning, not worth bothering about, light, footling, fiddling, incidentalView synonyms
- ‘These concerns for purity should not be understood as pettifogging legalism.’
- ‘Only the most Lilliputian of political outlooks could consider these kind of pettifogging government measures ‘bold and far-reaching’.’
- ‘Their concern was brushed off as a pettifogging detail rather than an understandable concern.’
- ‘The one thing that Labour has been entirely consistent about is its pettifogging parliamentarism, its proceduralism, its gradualism and its timidity before capital and the Establishment.’
- ‘Either they have no idea what is at stake, or they place pettifogging bureaucracy above all else.’
Late 16th century: from pettifogger + -ing.
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