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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 argument Daisey makes is the same as the one made by the author, in a sense: this makes an important story more powerful.
The Conning of ‘This American Life’ Leads to an Embarrassing Retraction Philip Bump March 16, 2012

But even so, it is much more arresting and persuasive as an argument because it is tied to crucial end results.
The Path to Victory in November for Barack Obama and the Democrats Michael Tomasky January 30, 2012

To date, he has seemed reluctant to choose a side in the argument, preferring instead to float above the fray.
Obama Needs a New Tune Jeff Shesol August 21, 2011

I made my argument for her removal when I discovered her relation to XXXX and it was denied.
Rogue L.A. Cop’s Facebook Manifesto: ‘You Will Now Live the Life of Prey’ The Daily Beast February 7, 2013

Both the gap in solutions and the assumption of outcomes undermine this argument.
Why The PA Shouldn’t Be Dissolved Brent E. Sasley March 3, 2013

Historical Examples

The argument which followed this announcement was not long, but spirited.
The Princess and Joe Potter James Otis

But Jeff Rankin swept all argument away with a movement of his big paws.
Way of the Lawless Max Brand

But whatever the form of argument may be, the result is the same.
A Short History of English Liberalism Walter Lyon Blease

The man assented to her argument, and went to look out the two beds she wanted.
Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald

This, as we shall later see, is an important step in our argument.
Ancient Art and Ritual Jane Ellen Harrison

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.

(Or “arg”) A value or reference passed to a function, procedure, subroutine, command or program, by the caller. For example, in the function definition
square(x) = x * x
x is the formal argument or “parameter”, and in the call
y = square(3+4)
3+4 is the actual argument. This will execute the function square with x having the value 7 and return the result 49.
There are many different conventions for passing arguments to functions and procedures including call-by-value, call-by-name, call-by-reference, call-by-need. These affect whether the value of the argument is computed by the caller or the callee (the function) and whether the callee can modify the value of the argument as seen by the caller (if it is a variable).
Arguments to functions are usually, following mathematical notation, written in parentheses after the function name, separated by commas (but see curried function). Arguments to a program are usually given after the command name, separated by spaces, e.g.:
cat myfile yourfile hisfile
Here “cat” is the command and “myfile”, “yourfile”, and “hisfile” are the arguments.
see under pick a quarrel


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  • Argumentum

    (def 3). Historical Examples It is incomprehensible; or, as St. Paul says, the argumentum non apparentium. What is Property? P. J. Proudhon It is an ‘argumentum ad ignorantiam’—take this explanation or be ignorant. The Origin of Species Thomas H. Huxley But this, I suppose, is the argumentum ad gubernatorem—to frighten the governor. The History of […]

  • Argumentation

    the process of developing or presenting an ; reasoning. discussion; debate; disputation: The lengthy argumentation tired many listeners. a discussion dealing with a controversial point. the setting forth of reasons together with the conclusion drawn from them. the premises and conclusion so set forth. (def 5). Contemporary Examples Although an undeniably compelling trinity of argumentation, […]

  • Argumentative

    fond of or given to and dispute; disputatious; contentious: The law students were an unusually argumentative group. of or characterized by ; controversial: an argumentative attitude toward political issues. Law. or containing suggesting that a certain fact tends toward a certain conclusion. Contemporary Examples “It resulted in an extremely confrontational and argumentative persona,” Dupont says. […]

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