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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Brown's federal civil rights suit claims wrongful arrest and excessive force during an altercation outside a Walgreens store in January. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Beyond proud of Sterling': Milwaukee Bucks GM Jon Horst gives strong support of rookie Sterling Brown," 20 June 2018 Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt allegedly punched a man during an altercation in Ohio over the weekend, according to a TMZ report. Blair Kerkhoff, kansascity, "Chiefs' Kareem Hunt involved in altercation, according to TMZ report," 6 June 2018 Police received a call around 11:40 p.m. Monday about an altercation in the 500 block of West D Street, according to Ontario police Sgt. Brittny Mejia,, "Infant dies after mother hits her and boyfriend with car, police say," 29 May 2018 Two men have been charged in the connection with a Friday night altercation in Bristol Township that ended in the shooting deaths of two 19-year-olds from Lower Bucks, Zyisean McDuffie and Tommy Ballard. Jacob Adelman,, "Two charged in last week's gunplay that left two dead in Bristol Twp.," 8 May 2018 Pete Williston has said the investigation shows it was determined that the victim was shot during an altercation in the 3900 block of Court K Ensley. Christopher Harress,, "Mobile rapist gets consecutive life sentences for attacks on 3 women," 2 May 2018 Hardison said witnesses notified a West Buechel officer about the altercation in the 3400 block of Bardstown Road around 4 p.m., and the officer and an off-duty Hurstbourne Acres officer responded. Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal, "Police officer shoots suspect after being called to incident on Bardstown near West Buechel," 22 Apr. 2018 Deputies say a man and his girlfriend were in a physical altercation in their car. David Harris,, "Three injured in road-rage shooting on SR 528," 6 Apr. 2018 Deputy Omar Bello also noticed that there was an altercation in the front seat with the passenger. Madeleine Marr, miamiherald, "They stole an Amazon package of dog treats, cops say. Then the trouble started | Miami Herald," 2 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of altercation

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for altercation

see altercate

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about altercation

Statistics for altercation

Last Updated

15 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for altercation

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on altercation

What made you want to look up altercation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make a payment or contribution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!