[ahr-gyuh-muh nt]
See more synonyms for argument on
  1. an oral disagreement; verbal opposition; contention; altercation: a violent argument.
  2. a discussion involving differing points of view; debate: They were deeply involved in an argument about inflation.
  3. a process of reasoning; series of reasons: I couldn't follow his argument.
  4. a statement, reason, or fact for or against a point: This is a strong argument in favor of her theory.
  5. an address or composition intended to convince or persuade; persuasive discourse.
  6. subject matter; theme: The central argument of his paper was presented clearly.
  7. an abstract or summary of the major points in a work of prose or poetry, or of sections of such a work.
  8. Mathematics.
    1. an independent variable of a function.
    2. Also called amplitude.the angle made by a given vector with the reference axis.
    3. the angle corresponding to a point representing a given complex number in polar coordinates.Compare principal argument.
  9. Computers. a variable in a program, to which a value will be assigned when the program is run: often given in parentheses following a function name and used to calculate the function.
  10. Obsolete.
    1. evidence or proof.
    2. a matter of contention.

Origin of argument

1325–75; Middle English (< Old French) < Latin argūmentum. See argue, -ment
Related formsre·ar·gu·ment, noun

Synonym study

1. Argument, controversy, dispute imply the expression of opinions for and against some idea. An argument usually arises from a disagreement between two persons, each of whom advances facts supporting his or her own point of view. A controversy or a dispute may involve two or more persons. A dispute is an oral contention, usually brief, and often of a heated, angry, or undignified character: a violent dispute over a purchase. A controversy is an oral or written expression of contrary opinions, and may be dignified and of some duration: a political controversy. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for argument

Contemporary Examples of argument

Historical Examples of argument

  • How I closed the argument—the conversation and the interview—and escaped from her, I know not.

  • But Jeff Rankin swept all argument away with a movement of his big paws.

  • The man assented to her argument, and went to look out the two beds she wanted.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • And always, in response to every argument, Mary shook her head in negation.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • It was evident that Dick perceived the futility of argument.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

British Dictionary definitions for argument


  1. a quarrel; altercation
  2. a discussion in which reasons are put forward in support of and against a proposition, proposal, or case; debatethe argument on birth control will never be concluded
  3. (sometimes plural) a point or series of reasons presented to support or oppose a proposition
  4. a summary of the plot or subject of a book, etc
  5. logic
    1. a process of deductive or inductive reasoning that purports to show its conclusion to be true
    2. formally, a sequence of statements one of which is the conclusion and the remainder the premises
  6. logic an obsolete name for the middle term of a syllogism
  7. maths
    1. an element to which an operation, function, predicate, etc, applies, esp the independent variable of a function
    2. the amplitude of a complex number
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 argument

early 14c., "statements and reasoning in support of a proposition," from Old French arguement "reasoning, opinion; accusation, charge" (13c.), from Latin argumentum "evidence, ground, support, proof; a logical argument," from arguere "to argue" (see argue). Sense passed through "subject of contention" to "a quarrel," a sense formerly attached to argumentation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with argument


see under pick a quarrel.

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