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.

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 Forms

caviller, 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