American Dictionary of the English Language

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CAVIL, verb intransitive

1. To raise captious and frivolous objections; to find fault without good reason; followed by at.

It is better to reason than to cavil

2. To advance futile objections, or to frame sophisms, for the sake of victory in an argument.

CAVIL, verb transitive To receive or treat with objections.

Wilt thou enjoy the good. Then cavil the conditions.

CAVIL, noun False or frivolous objections; also, a fallacious kind of reason, bearing some resemblance to truth, advanced for the sake of victory.