Definition of argument in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈärɡyəmənt/


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 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.
2A reason or set of reasons given with the aim of persuading others that an action or idea is right or wrong: 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, justification, explanation, rationalization;
case, defense, vindication;
evidence, reasons, grounds;
3 Mathematics An independent variable associated with a function and determining the value of the function. 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.
3.1 another term for amplitude (sense 4).
3.2 Computing A value or address passed to a procedure or function at the time of call.
Example sentences
  • Density files can be used as functions passed as an argument to the isosurface object.
  • The actual work is done in the story subroutine, which is passed six arguments when invoked by Blosxom, corresponding to a number of items having to do with the entry.
  • Depending on the arguments passed, it can display system power status, or it can be used to initiate system standby/suspend transition.
3.3 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.
3.4 Logic The middle term in a syllogism.
4 archaic A summary of the subject matter of a book.
theme, topic, subject matter;
summary, synopsis, précis, gist, outline


for the sake of argument

As a basis for discussion or reasoning.
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

Syllabification: ar·gu·ment

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.