[ kav-uhl ]
/ ˈkæv əl /
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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.
a trivial and annoying objection.
the raising of such objections.
OTHER WORDS FOR cavil
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Origin of cavil
First recorded in 1540–50; from Latin cavillārī “to jeer, scoff, quibble,” derivative of cavilla “jesting, banter”
OTHER WORDS FROM cavil
cav·il·er; especially British, cav·il·ler, nouncav·il·ing·ly; especially British, cav·il·ling·ly, adverboutcavil, 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, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use cavil in a sentence
There were not wanting ungenerous cavillers to insinuate doubts that he and Burke had been at the Gulf.Successful Exploration Through the Interior of Australia|William John Wills
But there is more sense and infinite humour in the mode which Phædrus adopted to answer the cavillers of his age.Curiosities of Literature, Vol. 1 (of 3)|Isaac D'Israeli
Doubters and cavillers were silenced, and regular trips were made till the ice closed the river for the season.
He checked the impertinence, and silenced the vanity of captious cavillers.
Other objections of cavillers have their appropriate answers.The Wave of Scepticism and the Rock of Truth|Matthew Henry Habershon
British Dictionary definitions for 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
a captious trifling objection
Derived forms of cavilcaviller, 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