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cavil

[kav-uh l] /ˈkæv əl/
verb (used without object), caviled, caviling or (especially British) cavilled, cavilling.
1.
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), caviled, caviling or (especially British) cavilled, cavilling.
2.
to oppose by inconsequential, frivolous, or sham objections:
to cavil each item of a proposed agenda.
noun
3.
a trivial and annoying objection.
4.
the raising of such objections.
Origin
1540-1550
1540-50; < Latin cavillārī to jeer, scoff, quibble, verbal derivative of cavilla jesting, banter
Related forms
caviler; especially British, caviller, noun
cavilingly; especially British, cavillingly, adverb
outcavil, verb (used with object), outcaviled, outcaviling or (especially British) outcavilled, outcavilling.
uncaviling, adjective
uncavilling, adjective
Synonyms
1. carp, complain, criticize.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for caviling

cavil

/ˈkævɪl/
verb -ils, -illing, -illed (US) -ils, -iling, -iled
1.
(intransitive; foll by at or about) to raise annoying petty objections; quibble; carp
noun
2.
a captious trifling objection
Derived Forms
caviller, noun
cavilling, adjective
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for caviling

cavil

v.

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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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