caviling


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cav·il

 (kăv′əl)
v. cav·iled, cav·il·ing, cav·ils also cav·illed or cav·il·ling
v.intr.
To argue or find fault over trivial matters; raise petty objections. See Synonyms at quibble.
v.tr.
To quibble about; point out petty flaws in.
n.
A carping or trivial objection.

[French caviller, from Old French, from Latin cavillārī, to jeer, from cavilla, a jeering.]

cav′il·er n.
References in classic literature ?
But all the judges are alike for that, keeping a poor shirt up sometimes until midnight, listening to cursed dull lawyers, and prosy, caviling witnesses.
Now, D'Artagnan, when he left Calais with his ten scamps, would have hesitated as little in attacking a Goliath, a Nebuchadnezzar, or a Holofernes as he would in crossing swords with a recruit or caviling with a landlady.
Neville Chamberlain's name has become code for a weak-kneed, caviling politician, just as Winston Churchill has become the beau ideal of indomitable leadership.