I'd always thought that "lame" as in "lame argument" or "lame excuse" was
relatively modern youth slang. Then I ran across it in a 19th-century source,
and so decided to check the OED. It turns out that the definition of "[m]aimed,
halting; imperfect or defective, unsatisfactory as wanting a part or parts,"
"[s]aid esp[ecially] of an argument, excuse, account, narrative, or the like"
dates back at least to Chaucer's Troilus and Cressida: "blame me not if
any word [of my work] be lame." Then there's Shakespeare, in Othello, speaking
of a "most lame and impotent conclusion." Most lame, dude! And Swift, in
Gulliver's Travels, "The theory of comets, which at present is very lame and
Fine, but at least we can claim credit for the phrase: "totally lame."
In other news:
* Cavil means to raise trivial objections.
* While it is wrong to incorrectly split an infinitive with an adverb, like so, you will likely be surprised to learn that is not incorrect to split the "bare infinitive" (be) from a "modal auxiliary verb" (will, would, can, etc.) with an adverb. Some people believe that this is a poor stylistic choice. Those people need to read the Chicago Manual of Style and Modern English Usage.