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cavil

[kav-uh l]
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verb (used without object), cav·iled, cav·il·ing or (especially British) cav·illed, cav·il·ling.
  1. 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.
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verb (used with object), cav·iled, cav·il·ing or (especially British) cav·illed, cav·il·ling.
  1. to oppose by inconsequential, frivolous, or sham objections: to cavil each item of a proposed agenda.
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noun
  1. a trivial and annoying objection.
  2. the raising of such objections.
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Origin of cavil

1540–50; < Latin cavillārī to jeer, scoff, quibble, verbal derivative of cavilla jesting, banter
Related formscav·il·er; especially British, cav·il·ler, nouncav·il·ing·ly; especially British, cav·il·ling·ly, adverbout·cav·il, verb (used with object), out·cav·iled, out·cav·il·ing or (especially British) out·cav·illed, out·cav·il·ling.un·cav·il·ing, adjectiveun·cav·il·ling, adjective

Synonyms

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1. carp, complain, criticize.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for cavil

cavil

verb -ils, -illing or -illed or US -ils, -iling or -iled
  1. (intr; foll by at or about) to raise annoying petty objections; quibble; carp
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noun
  1. a captious trifling objection
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Derived Formscaviller, nouncavilling, adjective

Word Origin

C16: from Old French caviller, from Latin cavillārī to jeer, from cavilla raillery
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cavil

v.

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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper