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.
Origin of cavil
1540–50; < Latincavillārī 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
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).