Word of the DayThursday, January 30, 2003
\KAV-uhl\ , intransitive verb;
To raise trivial or frivolous objections; to find fault without good reason.
To raise trivial objections to.
A trivial or frivolous objection.
Insiders with their own strong views, after all, tend to cavil about competing ideas and stories they consider less than comprehensive.
-- Laurence I. Barrett, "Dog-Bites-Dog", Time, October 30, 1989
It may seem churlish, amid the selection of so much glory, to cavil at a single omission, but I do think a great opportunity has been missed.
-- Tom Rosenthal, "Rome sweet Rome", New Statesman, February 5, 2001
He was determined not to be diverted from his main pursuit by cavils or trifles.
-- William Safire, Scandalmonger
Cavil comes from Latin cavillari, "to jeer, to quibble," from cavilla, "scoffing."
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