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[kwawr-uh l, kwor-] /ˈkwɔr əl, ˈkwɒr-/
an angry dispute or altercation; a disagreement marked by a temporary or permanent break in friendly relations.
a cause of dispute, complaint, or hostile feeling:
She has no quarrel with her present salary.
verb (used without object), quarreled, quarreling or (especially British) quarrelled, quarrelling.
to disagree angrily; squabble; wrangle.
to end a friendship as a result of a disagreement.
to make a complaint; find fault.
Origin of quarrel1
1300-50; Middle English querele < Old French < Latin querēla, querella a complaint, derivative of querī to complain
Related forms
quarreler, noun
quarrelingly, adverb
unquarreling, adjective
unquarrelling, adjective
1. argument, contention, controversy, difference, fight. Quarrel, dissension refer to disagreement and conflict. Quarrel applies chiefly to a verbal disagreement between individuals or groups and is used with reference to a large variety of situations, from a slight and petty difference of opinion to a violent altercation: It was little more than a domestic quarrel. Their quarrel led to the barroom brawl. Dissension usually implies a profound disagreement and bitter conflict. It also applies chiefly to conflict within a group or to members of the same group: dissension within the union; dissension among the Democrats. 3. bicker, argue, brawl, fight. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for quarreling
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • As a rule, however, it is all good-natured, and the noise is more bantering than quarreling.

    Silver Chimes in Syria W. S. Nelson
  • That was to keep the dear ones from quarreling all through the year.

    The Bird's Christmas Carol Kate Douglas Wiggin
  • A point of light had pierced the darkness,--the trades were quarreling among themselves!

    The Stillwater Tragedy Thomas Bailey Aldrich
  • I must insist on no more bickering and quarreling in my house.

    Marjorie Dean Pauline Lester
  • There was a horrid noise; two families were quarreling about the head of an eel, which in the end was carried off by the Cat.

    Favorite Fairy Tales Logan Marshall
  • Lily began, but soon stopped: the subject led to a surfeit of quarreling.

    The Bill-Toppers Andre Castaigne
  • They were both unsettled and passed through days of irritation when they came perilously near to quarreling.

    Old Mole Gilbert Cannan
  • The quarreling between colonies and the mother-country was an old story.

    A Virginia Scout Hugh Pendexter
  • And then he came into Jubilee, and found three of his freedmen drunk and quarreling in the street.

    Rodman the Keeper Constance Fenimore Woolson
British Dictionary definitions for quarreling


an angry disagreement; argument
a cause of disagreement or dispute; grievance
verb -rels, -relling, -relled (US) -rels, -reling, -reled (intransitive) often foll by with
to engage in a disagreement or dispute; argue
to find fault; complain
Derived Forms
quarreller, (US) quarreler, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French querele, from Latin querēlla complaint, from querī to complain


an arrow having a four-edged head, fired from a crossbow
a small square or diamond-shaped pane of glass, usually one of many in a fixed or casement window and framed with lead
Word Origin
C13: from Old French quarrel pane, from Medieval Latin quadrellus, diminutive of Latin quadrus square
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
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Word Origin and History for quarreling



"angry dispute," mid-14c., originally "ground for complaint," from Old French querele "matter, concern, business; dispute, controversy" (Modern French querelle), from Latin querella "complaint, accusation; lamentation," from queri "to complain, lament." Replaced Old English sacan. Sense of "contention between persons" is from 1570s.

"square-headed bolt for a crossbow," mid-13c., from Old French quarel, carrel "bolt, arrow," from Vulgar Latin *quadrellus, diminutive of Late Latin quadrus (adj.) "square," related to quattuor "four" (see four). Now-archaic sense of "square or diamond-shaped plane of glass" first recorded mid-15c.


late 14c., "to raise an objection;" 1520s as "to contend violently, to fall out," from quarrel (n.1) and in part from Old French quereler (Modern French quereller). Related: Quarrelled; quarrelling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with quarreling


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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