Definition of argument in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɑːɡjʊm(ə)nt/


1An exchange of diverging or opposite views, typically a heated or angry one: I’ve had an argument with my father heated arguments over public spending [mass noun]: there was some argument about the decision
More example sentences
  • I didn't see it but after the debate a few students approached the MP and had a heated argument with her, one guy went so far as to say she wasn't welcome here.
  • Last spring, I got into a heated argument with a bunch of lawyers about judicial activism.
  • The workers had a heated argument with the police a number of times.
quarrel, disagreement, squabble, fight, difference of opinion, dispute, wrangle, clash, altercation, feud, dissension, war of words, contretemps, exchange of views;
debate, discussion, discourse, disputation, controversy
informal tiff, barney, set-to, dust-up, bust-up, shouting/slanging match, spat, ding-dong, falling-out
British informal row
British informal, Sport  afters
Scottish informal rammy
2A reason or set of reasons given in support of an idea, action or theory: there is a strong argument for submitting a formal appeal [with clause]: he rejected the argument that keeping the facility would be costly
More example sentences
  • This supports the defence argument that they were in the possession of the building at all times.
  • However, there are a number of reasons that would support an argument that the move was acceptable.
  • It makes this assertion in support of its argument that a longer sublease would have been easier to market than a shorter sublease.
reasoning, line of reasoning, logic, case;
defence, justification, vindication, apology, explanation, rationalization;
evidence, reasons, grounds;
argumentation, polemic;
assertion, declaration, claim, plea, contention, expostulation, demonstration
3 Mathematics & Logic An independent variable associated with a function or proposition and determining its value. For example, in the expression y = F(x1, x2), the arguments of the function F are x1 and x2, and the value is y.
Example sentences
  • Abel's theorem states that any such sum can be expressed as a fixed number p of these integrals, with integration arguments that are algebraic functions of the original arguments.
  • With Davenport he showed that any real indefinite diagonal quadratic form, in 5 or more variables, takes arbitrarily small values for nonzero integral arguments.
  • I.e., in the equation, x + y = z, x and y are the arguments to the addition function, and z is the value.
4 another term for amplitude (sense 4).
5 Linguistics Any of the noun phrases in a clause that are related directly to the verb, typically the subject, direct object, and indirect object.
Example sentences
  • It does not contain a semantic predicate, either, because the anaphor is not an argument of the verb.
  • Section 3 shows that the operation ARG allows a satisfying analysis of prefixes and particles that introduce new arguments to the verb.
  • This paper focuses on the semantics of implicit arguments and compares it with that of explicit indefinites.
6 archaic A summary of the subject matter of a book.
theme, topic, subject matter;
gist, outline, summary, synopsis, abstract, precis;
plot, storyline


for the sake of argument

As a basis for discussion or reasoning: suppose, for the sake of argument, that this is the legal position
More example sentences
  • Let us suppose, just for the sake of argument, that some big-time editor reads a self-published novel and decides to offer the writer a two-book contract on the strength of it.
  • Suppose, however, for the sake of argument, that he lied.
  • Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that this guard did in fact stop to think things over carefully.


Middle English (in the sense 'process of reasoning'): via Old French from Latin argumentum, from arguere 'make clear, prove, accuse'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ar¦gu|ment

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