from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- intransitive v. To find fault unnecessarily; raise trivial objections. See Synonyms at quibble.
- transitive v. To quibble about; detect petty flaws in.
- n. A carping or trivial objection.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- v. To criticise for petty or frivolous reasons.
- n. A petty or trivial objection or criticism.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- intransitive v. To raise captious and frivolous objections; to find fault without good reason.
- transitive v. To cavil at.
- n. A captious or frivolous objection.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. See cavel
- n. See cavel.
- To raise captious and frivolous objections; find fault without good reason; carp: frequently followed by at.
- To receive or treat with objections; find fault with.
- n. A captious or frivolous objection; an exception taken for the sake of argument; a carping argument.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. an evasion of the point of an argument by raising irrelevant distinctions or objections
- v. raise trivial objections
French caviller, from Old French, from Latin cavillārī, to jeer, from cavilla, a jeering.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French caviller ("mock”, “jest”, “rail"), from Latin cavillor ("jeer, mock, satirise, reason captiously"), from cavilla ("jeering”, “raillery”, “scoffing"); cognate with Italian cavillare, Portuguese cavillar, and Spanish cavilar; nominal usage developed within English from the original verbal usage. (Wiktionary)