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verb (used without object), al·ter·cat·ed, al·ter·cat·ing.
  1. to argue or quarrel with zeal, heat, or anger; wrangle.

Origin of altercate

1530–40; < Latin altercātus (past participle of altercārī to quarrel), equivalent to *alterc(us) a disputing (alter other + -cus formative suffix) + -ātus -ate1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for altercate


  1. (intr) to argue, esp heatedly; dispute

Word Origin

C16: from Latin altercārī to quarrel with another, from alter other
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for altercate


1520s, "to contend with words," from Latin altercatus, past participle of altercari (see altercation).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper