- to raise irritating and trivial objections; find fault with unnecessarily (usually followed by at or about): He finds something to cavil at in everything I say.
- to oppose by inconsequential, frivolous, or sham objections: to cavil each item of a proposed agenda.
- a trivial and annoying objection.
- the raising of such objections.
Origin of cavil
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for caviller
The injunction is multiplied on us, as it were, to silence the sophistry of the caviller, and to fix the most inconsiderate mind.
"What objection could a caviller find with my epigram," said Mathilde to herself.The Red and the Black
Surely none but a caviller will find any want of harmony between these different modes of expression.The Theology of Holiness
I have proof enough to carry conviction to any honest breast—to satisfy any caviller—except a court of justice.Hidden Hand
Emma Dorothy Eliza Nevitte Southworth
I neither fear the critic or the caviller upon the ground-work of my address.An Address to Men of Science
- (intr; foll by at or about) to raise annoying petty objections; quibble; carp
- a captious trifling objection
Word Origin and History for caviller
1540s, from Middle French caviller "to mock, jest," from Latin cavillari "to jeer, mock; satirize, argue scoffingly" (also source of Italian cavillare, Spanish cavilar), from cavilla "jest, jeering," related to calumnia (see calumny).