Cavils vs Civils - What's the difference?

cavils | civils |

As a verb cavils

is (cavil).

As a noun civils is

(chiefly|informal) civil engineering.




  • (cavil)
  • Anagrams




    Alternative forms

    * cavel, cavell


  • To criticise for petty or frivolous reasons.
  • * 1598? , William Shakespeare, Two Gentlemen of Verona , Act I, scene I:
  • 'Tis love you cavil at: I am not Love.
  • *{{quote-book, year=1913, author=
  • , title=Lord Stranleigh Abroad , chapter=5 citation , passage=Stranleigh found no difficulty in getting a cavalcade together at Bleacher’s station, an amazingly long distance west of New York. A man finds little trouble in obtaining what he wants, if he never cavils at the price asked, and is willing to pay in advance.}}
  • * 1928 , D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover :
  • I wish you wouldn't cavil , Hilda.


    * be hypercritical, nitpick, pettifog, split hairs


    (en noun)
  • A petty or trivial objection or criticism.
  • * 1835 , Charles G. Finney, Lectures on revivals of religion :
  • It is not worth while to spend your time in arguing against a cavil , but make him feel he is committing a sin to plead it, and thus enlist his conscience on your side.





  • (chiefly, informal) civil engineering
  • * {{quote-newsgroup, year=1999
  • , date=January 07 , author=Ken Welsby , title=Re: DLR Do , citation , accessdate=2008-07-07 , passage=The work involves extensive civils and p/w since, the track has to drop from the present embankment level, some 5m above the adjacent road, to the floor level of the new tunnel [the 'cut & cover' section of which, is, I guess, about 10m below it. }}
  • * {{quote-newsgroup, year=2002
  • , date=13 May , author=Ian G Batten , title=Re:Safety on the railways , newsgroup=uk.railway citation , accessdate=2008-07-07 , passage=Our [ISO] 9000 (etc) accreditation extends, so far as I am aware, to cabling, ducting, poling and other civils activities. }}
  • * {{quote-book, year=2003
  • , author=Franklin and Andrews (eds) , title=Spon's Railways Construction Price Book 2nd Edition , chapter=DC Electrification citation , isbn=ISBN:0415326230 , page=79 , passage=Conreate bases, ducts and minor civils […] bases fir structures, in situ concreate bases, inlcuding holding down bolts and fixings. }}

    Usage notes

    The word is normally plural in construction, and is mostly used in relation to the infrastructure of transport networks and projects, particularly the maintenance of existing structures or the design and construction of new projects.


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