Definition of pettifog in English:



[NO OBJECT]archaic
  • 1Quibble about petty points.

    minor criticism, trivial objection, trivial complaint, adverse comment, protest, query, argument, exception, moan, grumble, grouse, cavil
    find fault with, raise trivial objections to, complain about, object to, cavil at, carp about
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    1. 1.1 Practice legal deception or trickery.
      • ‘They have obfuscated, delayed, lied, backtracked, pettifogged, and cancelled all sorts of commitments under the informal and formal rubrics of the Oslo process.’
      • ‘He probably thought the auditors were pettifogging about practices ‘everyone does’ and that different auditors wouldn't be so picky.’


Early 17th century: back-formation from pettifogger.