this discussion is so silly we might as well altercate on how many angels can dance on the point of a needle
borrowed from Latin altercātus, past participle of altercārī, altercāre "to dispute vehemently, wrangle," derivative of alter "second, another" — more at alter
The formation of altercārī is unclear. Ernout and Meillet (Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue latine, Paris, 1959/1985) assume that it is based on *altercus, an unattested variant of alternus "occurring in alternation" (see alternate entry 1). Leumann (Lateinische Laut- und Formenlehre, Munich, 1977) proposes syncope from *altericāre, with the suffix perhaps after duplicāre "to double" (see duplicate entry 1).