Definition of dispute in English:

Share this entry



Pronunciation: /dɪˈspjuːt/
Pronunciation: /ˈdɪspjuːt/
1A disagreement or argument: a territorial dispute between the two countries [mass noun]: the Commission is in dispute with the government
More example sentences
  • But consultants remain in dispute with the Government over a scheme aimed at streamlining public health compensation claims.
  • As for her naïve belief that people would not fight to death over a parking space, Hilary Evans has clearly never seen my husband in dispute with another motorist.
  • While she had been in dispute with the tax people about a year-and-a-half ago, she believed the matter had been settled and she was fully paid up.
debate, discussion, discourse, disputation, argument, controversy, contention, disagreement, altercation, falling-out, quarrelling, variance, dissension, conflict, friction, strife, discord, antagonism
Irish , North American , & Australian  donnybrook
informal tiff, spat, scrap, run-in
British informal row, barney, slanging match, ding-dong, bust-up
British informal, Football  afters
Scottish informal rammy
North American informal rhubarb
archaic broil, miff
1.1A disagreement between management and employees that leads to industrial action: an industrial dispute
More example sentences
  • The Wagner Act of 1935 also created the National Labor Relations Board to help oversee employee disputes in private industry.
  • The dispute is over management's failure to fully inform employees about adverse changes to their superannuation scheme.
  • Please forgive me for perhaps dealing with it in this way: we have received a huge amount of evidence of what is wrong with management, and why disputes are not resolved, and why you get employment law cases.


Pronunciation: /dɪˈspjuːt/
[with object]
1Argue about (something): the point has been much disputed [no object]: he taught and disputed with local poets
More example sentences
  • Not a weekend has gone by where some, or all, of the teams are not discussing or disputing these regulations.
  • Officers also impounded the motorcycle as disputed property and all three were charged with possession of a class 5 illegal drug.
  • Not knowing how to argue in Mandarin, it is very difficult to dispute any bill or when you think you have been overcharged.
debate, discuss, exchange views;
quarrel, argue, disagree, have a disagreement, have an altercation, clash, wrangle, bicker, squabble, bandy words, cross swords, lock horns
informal fall out, have words, argufy, scrap, have a tiff, have a spat
archaic altercate
1.1Question whether (a statement or alleged fact) is true or valid: the accusations are not disputed [with clause]: the estate disputes that it is responsible for the embankment
More example sentences
  • In effect the accuracy of the vast majority of the series' facts could not be disputed or questioned in any way.
  • When a member asks a question with an assertion contained within it, it is perfectly open to the Minister to answer the question by disputing the assertion.
  • Darling disputed these assertions of fact, but there were no proceedings in which he could be given a hearing or the matters resolved after full consideration.
2Compete for; strive to win: the two drivers crashed while disputing the lead
More example sentences
  • Macclesfield took an early and disputed lead through a Lee Glover penalty and veteran Tony Ford equalised for the home side on 25 minutes.
  • Scottish International fell runner Neil Wilkinson gave them the lead after Holmfirth, Morpeth and Derby all disputed top spot following the first three legs.
  • Similar struggles exist in east Malaysia, where the land rights of indigenous groups are bitterly disputed with loggers eager to harvest the timber for export.
2.1 archaic Resist (a landing or advance): I formed my line and prepared to dispute the advance of the foe
More example sentences
  • He has disposed of his surplus baggage and commissary stores, placing them out of reach of any descent of a force in this direction, and leaving him free to dispute the advance of the rebel army.
  • At 1:30 p. m. the column is again in motion; no enemy has appeared to dispute the advance.



beyond (or without) dispute

Certain or certainly: the main part of his argument was beyond dispute
More example sentences
  • What is definitely beyond dispute is that the captured forces certainly did not enter any US territory.
  • You will have to be the judge… however, it is without dispute that Herring certainly had a big impact on the direction of aviation.
  • All of that is almost certainly beyond dispute.

open to dispute

Not definitely decided: such estimates are always open to dispute
More example sentences
  • How much dislocation they create is always open to dispute.
  • While there is merit to his remarks, Legros bases them on quantitative estimates that are open to dispute.
  • Beyond that, the conclusions are open to dispute.



Pronunciation: /dɪˈspjuːt(ə)nt/
Pronunciation: /ˈdɪspjʊt(ə)nt/
Example sentences
  • The disputants in this case clearly suspect each other of dishonesty and so do not think this distinction is relevant.
  • These various segments were wooed by both contestants, with the campaign manifesting an intensity commensurate with the stature of the disputants, and the importance of their dispute.
  • All four have cropped up among the disputants, in many cases without any awareness that other people were using the word in a sense different to the one they themselves were assuming.


Pronunciation: /dɪˈspjuːtə/
Example sentences
  • The two were known throughout their school as ‘the eternal disputers’ or ‘the foes’ or just ‘the ones who never shut up,’ though a few of the wiser students believed they were secretly lusting after one another.
  • Do not confuse one who is contending earnestly for the faith with the disputer of this age.
  • So, you see the difference between a disputer and dialectician.


Middle English: via Old French from Latin disputare 'to estimate' (in late Latin 'to dispute'), from dis- 'apart' + putare 'reckon'.

Words that rhyme with dispute

acute, argute, astute, beaut, Beirut, boot, bruit, brut, brute, Bute, butte, Canute, cheroot, chute, commute, compute, confute, coot, cute, depute, dilute, flute, galoot, hoot, impute, jute, loot, lute, minute, moot, newt, outshoot, permute, pollute, pursuit, recruit, refute, repute, route, salute, Salyut, scoot, shoot, Shute, sloot, snoot, subacute, suit, telecommute, Tonton Macoute, toot, transmute, undershoot, uproot, Ute, volute

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: dis|pute

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.