an oral disagreement; verbal opposition; contention; altercation:
a violent argument.
a discussion involving differing points of view; debate:
They were deeply involved in an argument about inflation.
a process of reasoning; series of reasons:
I couldn’t follow his argument.
a statement, reason, or fact for or against a point:
This is a strong argument in favor of her theory.
an address or composition intended to convince or persuade; persuasive discourse.
subject matter; theme:
The central argument of his paper was presented clearly.
an abstract or summary of the major points in a work of prose or poetry, or of sections of such a work.

an independent variable of a function.
Also called amplitude. the angle made by a given vector with the reference axis.
the angle corresponding to a point representing a given complex number in polar coordinates.
Compare .

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.

evidence or proof.
a matter of contention.

Contemporary Examples

The problem with the arguments for inaction isn’t that they’re wrong, it’s that they prove too much.
Obama’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Hypocrisy Matthew Yglesias May 9, 2009

They step around their arguments, like sea-weed on a Massachusetts beach.
The Real Story Behind Thanksgiving Nick Bunker November 23, 2010

One of the arguments for intervention arising from the Syria strikes relies on a bit of sophistry.
What Israel’s Attack Doesn’t Mean For American Intervention In Syria Ali Gharib May 5, 2013

A lot of people are spilling a lot of words on the three days of arguments at the Supreme Court over the health-care law.
10 Best Commentaries After Supreme Court Health-Care Arguments March 28, 2012

Secular arguments about the separation of church and state may play well to the base.
Ten Reasons Women Are Losing While Gays Keep Winning Jay Michaelson July 5, 2014

Historical Examples

But she found that Lilian was not to be tempted; and Marian was at length brought to see that her arguments were of no avail.
Chambers’s Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, No. 694 Various

She listened to all his arguments, but shook her head obstinately at their end.
The Leopard Woman Stewart Edward White

arguments in favour of (for example) memory in plants are only arguments in favour of habit-memory, not of knowledge-memory.
The Analysis of Mind Bertrand Russell

And thus, my dear, have I set my mother’s arguments before you.
Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9) Samuel Richardson

So it came about that any advocate could usually find an audience to harken to his arguments for his pet selection.
When the West Was Young Frederick R. Bechdolt

a quarrel; altercation
a discussion in which reasons are put forward in support of and against a proposition, proposal, or case; debate: the argument on birth control will never be concluded
(sometimes pl) a point or series of reasons presented to support or oppose a proposition
a summary of the plot or subject of a book, etc

a process of deductive or inductive reasoning that purports to show its conclusion to be true
formally, a sequence of statements one of which is the conclusion and the remainder the premises

(logic) an obsolete name for the middle term of a syllogism

an element to which an operation, function, predicate, etc, applies, esp the independent variable of a function
the amplitude of a complex number


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.
see under pick a quarrel


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