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

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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 Long-running tension between a Cudahy alderman and the city's mayor boiled over into a physical altercation April 14 that left both men with minor injuries — and one of them cited for disorderly conduct. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A Cudahy alderman was cited for fighting with the city's mayor and throwing him against a car," 7 May 2020 Johnson and the security guard then became engaged in a physical altercation which lead to the subject being rendered unconscious. Carol Robinson |, al, "Death of man at hands of Ensley store security guard ruled justifiable; no charges to be filed," 21 Apr. 2020 Error 0: Detectives believe the woman may have been beaten to death during a physical altercation at the home. Gwendolyn Wu, Houston Chronicle, "Police: Woman killed in Sharpstown home," 12 Apr. 2020 Last week, Kourtney and Kim got into a physical altercation that shocked fans and the Kardashian-Jenner clan. Kaitlin Reilly,, "Kourtney Kardashian Is Officially Retired From KUWTK — With Specific Exceptions," 3 Apr. 2020 About 30 minutes later, at 3 a.m., police said three people were shot after a physical altercation ensued among a group of females. Jennie Key,, "Two Downtown shootings send four to hospital New Year's Day," 1 Jan. 2020 On Saturday, after Reed, who partnered with Webb Simpson, was handed a third consecutive loss, Reed’s caddie, his brother-in-law Kessler Karain, got into a physical altercation with one of the scores of hecklers who had been hounding Reed all week. Karen Crouse, New York Times, "Tiger Woods Leads by Example in Presidents Cup Comeback Win," 15 Dec. 2019 The 27-year-old is accused of getting into a physical altercation with two bartenders at Angel's Strip Club in College Point, Queens in August 2018. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "Cardi B Ruffles Feathers in Queens Court," 10 Dec. 2019 Bryant was pushing staff out of the way when trying to get involved in the physical altercation involving his brother when the assistant principal tried to keep him from intervening, the arrest report stated. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "Seneca High student charged with assault after headbutting assistant principal, police say," 27 Nov. 2019

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.

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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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Time Traveler for altercation

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for altercation

Last Updated

26 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Altercation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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