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How to pronounce cavil (audio)

Dictionary Definition of 'cavil'

To make petty or trivial objections, criticisms, or complaints, often with the intention of finding fault or nitpicking over minor details.
"He tends to cavil at minor errors in the reports rather than focusing on the main issues."

Detailed Meaning of 'cavil'

When someone cavils, they typically focus on small or inconsequential aspects of an argument, statement, or situation, rather than addressing the main issue at hand. Caviling can be seen as a form of undue fault-finding or overly critical scrutiny that detracts from meaningful discussion or resolution. This term conveys a sense of quibbling and a tendency to magnify minor issues, which may hinder productive dialogue or collaboration. In essence, to cavil is to engage in carping or nitpicking behavior, which may not contribute constructively to the matter under consideration.

History and Etymology of 'cavil'

The verb 'cavil' has its origins in the Latin word 'cavillari,' which means 'to jest' or 'to mock.' Over time, it evolved in meaning and usage, coming to encompass the act of making petty or trivial objections, criticisms, or complaints, often with the intent of finding fault. This shift in meaning reflects how the act of jesting or mocking could easily transition into making nitpicky complaints. In essence, 'cavil' retains a connection to the idea of finding fault or criticizing, albeit in a more minor and often unconstructive manner. The etymology of 'cavil' reminds us of the fine line between playful banter and unnecessary fault-finding in language and communication.

Examples of 'cavil' in a Sentence

1. It's common for people to cavil about the weather, regardless of the forecast.
2. She will cavil at the slightest imperfection in her outfit.
3. The customer continued to cavil at the taste of the dish, despite the chef's best efforts.
4. It is not uncommon for people to cavil over their perceived slights on social media.
5. During construction, the client may cavil at the choice of materials used.
6. The team should not cavil at the challenges but focus on finding solutions.
7. Neighbors tend to cavil at the noise, even when it's not particularly loud.
8. In a debate, it’s important to focus on the argument rather than cavil at the opponent’s choice of words.
9. In professional settings, it is better to give constructive feedback than to cavil at colleagues.
10. While it's easy to cavil at the flaws, appreciating the good parts is equally important.
11. The audience began to cavil at the speaker's repeated use of jargon.
12. When reviewing a book, it’s necessary to provide a balanced perspective rather than just cavil at minor issues.
13. People often cavil at traffic without acknowledging the convenience of modern transportation.
14. One slight cavil is that the wine hadn't been chilled for quite long enough.





Quiz Categories Containing 'cavil'

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Multiple Choice Game

Multiple Choice

Opposite Words Game

Opposite Words

Same or Different Game

Same / different


Spelling Bee


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