al·​ter·​ca·​tion | \ ˌȯl-tər-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce altercation (audio) \

Definition of altercation

: a noisy, heated, angry dispute He got into several altercations with his boss. also : noisy controversy

Choose the Right Synonym for altercation

quarrel, wrangle, altercation, squabble mean a noisy dispute usually marked by anger. quarrel implies heated verbal contention, stressing strained or severed relations which may persist beyond the contention. a quarrel nearly destroyed the relationship wrangle suggests undignified and often futile disputation with a noisy insistence on differing opinions. wrangle interminably about small issues altercation implies fighting with words as the chief weapon, although it may also connote blows. a loud public altercation squabble stresses childish and unseemly dispute over petty matters, but it need not imply bitterness or anger. a brief squabble over what to do next

Examples of altercation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Lee, who was injured during his altercation with security officials, apparently had a replica handgun with a knife blade in his possession and was later booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. Nardine Saadstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2022 The complaint alleges that Morgan admitted to using derogatory language during his altercation with the flight attendant but denied assaulting him. NBC News, 27 Apr. 2022 Following the altercation, the game was suspended until further notice, the Weatherford College athletics department said in a statement. Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN, 21 Apr. 2022 Rock begged off the subject of his altercation with Will Smith at the Academy Awards, which occurred after Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, Smith’s wife., 30 Mar. 2022 The Los Angeles Police Department said Chris Rock won’t press charges against Will Smith after their altercation at the Academy Awards on Sunday. Mark Heim |, al, 28 Mar. 2022 Not long after his altercation with Rock, Smith went on to win Best Actor for his performance in King Richard. Ew Staff,, 28 Mar. 2022 The two men had known each other for several years, and their altercation came as Delgado was attempting to rob Guerrero, the district attorney’s office said. Bruce Selcraig, San Antonio Express-News, 28 Feb. 2022 The four-time NBA champ, 36, has been suspended for one game without pay after his altercation with Detroit Pistons star Isaiah Stewart escalated into a brawl on Sunday, the NBA announced on Monday. Olivia Jakiel,, 22 Nov. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'altercation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of altercation

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for altercation

Middle English altercacioun, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French altercacion, borrowed from Latin altercātiōn-, altercātiō, from altercārī, altercāre "to dispute vehemently, wrangle" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at altercate

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The first known use of altercation was in the 14th century

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alter Christus

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Last Updated

9 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Altercation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on altercation

Nglish: Translation of altercation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of altercation for Arabic Speakers


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