: to raise trivial and frivolous objection
Did You Know?
"You must be joking!" That's just one of the things you might be tempted to exclaim if you found yourself quarreling with a caviler—and you'd be right, etymologically speaking at least. Cavil derives from the Latin verb cavillari, meaning "to jest" or "to raise silly objections," which in turn derives from the Latin noun cavilla, meaning "raillery." In case you're wondering, cavil is not related to the adjective cavalier ("marked by or given to offhand and often disdainful dismissal of important matters"). Cavalier, which is also a noun for a gentleman trained in arms and horsemanship, traces back via Middle French to the Late Latin caballarius, meaning "horseman."
Amber caviled about going to the flea market when I first brought up the idea, but she seemed to enjoy herself thoroughly once we were there.
"The system prompted some critics to cavil that the Volt was not an electric car, and was simply a plug-in hybrid…." — Frank A. Aukofer, The Providence Journal, 11 Oct. 2015
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