Definition of cavil in English:

cavil

Line breaks: cavil
Pronunciation: /ˈkav(ə)l
 
/

verb (cavils, cavilling, cavilled; US cavils, caviling, caviled)

[no object]
Make petty or unnecessary objections: they cavilled at the cost
More example sentences
  • It's a fantastic achievement - and one in the eye for those who have carped and cavilled about the underperformance of Great Britain's competitors in Athens.
  • They are caviling that inspectors are being recruited from too many countries including Asians and Africans.
  • So, your Honour, I think that is about all I need to say about cavilling or challenging the judgment of Justice Kirby.
Synonyms
complain, carp, grumble, moan, grouse, grouch, whine, bleat, find fault with, quibble about, niggle about; criticize, censure, denounce, condemn, decry
informal gripe, beef, bellyache, bitch, whinge, nitpick, pick holes in, split hairs, sound off, kick up a fuss, knock
British informal chunter, create
Northern English informal mither
North American informal kvetch about

noun

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A petty or unnecessary objection.
More example sentences
  • But although I sympathise with almost all of what Todorov says, and applaud his achievement in saying it, I have a minor cavil about the way he gets his argument going.
  • Smiley's attempt to root the novel in a specific political climate seems an unnecessary distraction, and a few characters are too broadly typed, but these are minor cavils.
  • These minor cavils notwithstanding, Linder deserves considerable credit for resurrecting this important work and rendering it into such lucid, vigorous English.

Origin

mid 16th century: from French caviller, from Latin cavillari, from cavilla 'mockery'.

Derivatives

caviller

noun
More example sentences
  • We don't need any more headstrong, litigious lawyers; we've been groaning under the weight of carpers and cavillers for years.
  • Almost three years on, the carpers and cavillers are still complaining about the huge sums extracted from the telcos in the European 3G spectrum auctions.
  • Frank Hadden has certainly had his detractors down the years, but even his most stringent caviller would have to admit that this is a man who has served his time.

Definition of cavil in:

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