Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Pettifogger – Wordplay Wednesday™ 05/08/2019

We’ve All Met the Petty Type 

Some words are just fun to say, even if they are not fun to know. It isn’t a compliment when you’re called a …

PETTIFOGGER (petʹI fägʹɘr) n. – 1) a lawyer who handles petty cases, esp. one who uses unethical methods in conducting trumped up cases; 2) a trickster, cheater; 3) a quibbler, caviler. [WW #215]

Breaking down pettifogger we have “petti” derived obviously from “petty”—irrelevant, inconsequential; and “fogger”—something that acts to obscure reality. That fairly well sums it up!

But we don’t need to limit the word as defining certain lawyerspettifogger makes a dandy description for any ne’er-do-well or as we used to say in the “good ol’ days,” one who “nickels and dimes you to death.”

Sometimes there is a fine line between a pettifogger and those who insist on haggling for the best price, product, or service, until exhaustion lowers the resistance of their target, to the point of obfuscating the original offer. A pettifogger may simply want the best deal, but it turns them into an unwitting charlatan.

If you’re writing fiction, you may have a character in mind to which pettifogger could be aptly applied. Writing nonfiction? It’s a great word to describe people in the real world, too.

Word Challenge: PETTIFOGGER. Find a way in your casual conversation to slip this fun but not always funny word into your discourse, as you give pettifogger a standout part in your writing.

Learning knows no prejudices or boundaries, and it isn’t fattening! Expanding your mind is a no-cost, simple joy. Do you feel that way too? What’s your inspiration? Share your creative genius and Wordplay Wednesday comments below.

Write first for yourself … only then can you write for others. (L.Rochelle) 


[LinDee Rochelle is a writer and editor by trade, and an author by way of Rock & Roll. She has published two books (of three) in her Blast from Your Past series about pioneering R&R Radio DJs. The true behind-the-mic tales make GREAT Holiday Gifts available on Amazon (eBook and print): Book 1Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The First Five Years 1954-1959; and Book 2Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The Swinging Sixties. Coming soon … The Psychedelic Seventies!]


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