v. cav·iled, cav·il·ing, cav·ils also cav·illed or cav·il·ling
To argue or find fault over trivial matters; raise petty objections. See Synonyms at quibble.
To quibble about; point out petty flaws in.
A carping or trivial objection.
[French caviller, from Old French, from Latin cavillārī, to jeer, from cavilla, a jeering.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.