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verb (used without object)
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.
The verb cavil “to raise irritating and trivial objections” ultimately comes from the Latin verb cavillārī “to jeer, scoff, quibble,” a derivative of the noun cavilla “jesting, banter.” Cavillārī and calvī “to deceive, trick” come from the Latin root cal-, and cavilla comes from an earlier unrecorded calvilla. Cavil entered English in the 16th century.
Now, I’m not the type to cavil at the outrageous fortune of others, as long as they come by it legally.
Has it become a custom for the brothers and sisters to carp and cavil at one another—and even for Mamma to cavil at her children—as I have heard you all do to-night?
equivalent, as in value, force, effect, or signification: His angry speech was tantamount to a declaration of war.
In contemporary English tantamount is an adjective meaning “equivalent,” an adjective use of the obsolete noun tantamount “something equivalent, an equivalent,” which, in its turn, is a development of the somewhat earlier verb tantamount “to amount to as much” (all three parts of speech are recorded between 1628 and 1641). Tantamount comes from Anglo-French tant am(o)unter or Italian tanto montare “to amount to as much.” Tant and tanto come from the neuter Latin adjective tantum “so much”; am(o)unter “to add up to, ascend” comes from the Old French adverb amont “up, upward,” from Latin ad montem “(up) to the hill.”
It was a daring move in those days; most men of the countryside feared the city, clung to what was safe and familiar, teaching their sons that leaving the land was tantamount to dying.
Recovering a diamond at Karowe is tantamount to finding a needle in a haystack, in a barn full of other haystacks without needles.
an irresistible urge; mania.
The rare noun cacoethes, “irresistible urge, mania,” comes from the Latin neuter noun cacoēthes “malignant tumor at an early stage, incurable disease (of character),” from Greek kakóēthes “malice, wickedness,” neuter singular noun use of the adjective kakóēthes, “ill-disposed, malicious, malignant,” a compound of kakós “bad, wretched” and the noun êthos “custom, habit, character, usage.” Cacoethes in the sense “irresistible urge, mania” comes from the Roman satirist Juvenal’s phrase insānābile scrībendī cacoēthes “incurable urge to write.” Cacoethes entered English in the 16th century.
We must talk, think, and live up to the spirit of the times, and write up to it too, if that cacoethes be upon us, or we are nought.
“Malachi has caught cacoethes scribendi, the scribbling craze, and is writing more sermons,” Turlow reported.