- 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
Synonyms for cavilSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Related Words for cavilernitpicker, quibbler, complainer, niggler, carper, whiner, pettifogger, caviller, faultfinder, criticizer
Examples from the Web for caviler
Historical Examples of caviler
What a triumphant answer to the caviler who could say, "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?"Notes on the Book of Leviticus
C. H. Mackintosh
Let the real Christian come into the presence of the caviler, stand before his very eyes, and the caviler will not see him.
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
- (intr; foll by at or about) to raise annoying petty objections; quibble; carp
- a captious trifling objection
Word Origin for cavil
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).