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cavil (verb) raise silly objections.

When a person cavils, they raise objections to, or complain about, very silly matters. For example, when you complain that the saucer is not in the right place on the dining table at dinner, or that the spoon is not the right kind, you cavil. You cavil when you object to a referee in a match smiling at the rival player, though it means nothing.

  • Sometimes the opposition parties cavil even at the genuinely good policies of the ruling party, just to give the government some unpleasant time, by complaining about a lack of this or an excess of that.
  • The envious police officer, who did not like to be outsmarted by his deputy, caviled at his ingenious suggestions for fighting crime, by pointing out some trivial defects in them.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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