Pettifog

We're back with another, and if "hircine" has a silly meaning, "pettifog" has a silly pronunciation. It's not just the pronunciation of the word, I guess - it's the word itself. Pettifog. It sounds almost impossibly British. Pettifog calls attention to itself, and I cannot envision a scenario in which I would use it without using it deliberately to get a reaction. The first definition:

1. to bicker or quibble over trifles or unimportant matters.

It seems like a useful word, right? But the word is "pettifog". I advise that you use it sparingly. An example sentence:

You can pettifog over lineups and managerial strategy all you want, but ultimately, the Mariners bombed because they weren't very good.

I don't know if that's a good deployment but I'm not going to spend any more of my day trying to make it work. I'm glad that I know the word "pettifog" now, because it makes me that much more prepared for standardized tests, but should it become a regular part of my rotation, I hope that someone would have the decency to slap me in the face.

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