cavil

[ kav-uhl ]
/ ˈkæv əl /

verb (used without object), cav·iled, cav·il·ing or (especially British) cav·illed, cav·il·ling.

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.

verb (used with object), cav·iled, cav·il·ing or (especially British) cav·illed, cav·il·ling.

to oppose by inconsequential, frivolous, or sham objections: to cavil each item of a proposed agenda.

noun

a trivial and annoying objection.
the raising of such objections.

Nearby words

  1. cavesson,
  2. cavetto,
  3. caviar,
  4. cavicorn,
  5. cavie,
  6. cavill,
  7. caving,
  8. cavitary,
  9. cavitate,
  10. cavitation

Origin of cavil

1540–50; < Latin cavillārī to jeer, scoff, quibble, verbal derivative of cavilla jesting, banter

Related forms
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for caviler

  • What a triumphant answer to the caviler who could say, "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?"

  • I say these things to teach us to be careful not to join the caviler in judging presumptuously the work and Word of God.

  • Mr. Caviler, your voice is harsh and grating too when you get very angry, isn't it?

    A Maid of the Kentucky Hills|Edwin Carlile Litsey
  • Let the real Christian come into the presence of the caviler, stand before his very eyes, and the caviler will not see him.



British Dictionary definitions for caviler

cavil

/ (ˈkævɪl) /

verb -ils, -illing or -illed or US -ils, -iling or -iled

(intr; foll by at or about) to raise annoying petty objections; quibble; carp

noun

a captious trifling objection
Derived Formscaviller, nouncavilling, adjective

Word Origin for cavil

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 caviler

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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper