ar·​gu·​ment | \ˈär-gyə-mənt \

Definition of argument 

1a : the act or process of arguing, reasoning, or discussing : argumentation

b : a coherent series of reasons, statements, or facts intended to support or establish a point of view a defense attorney's closing argument

c : an angry quarrel or disagreement having an argument over/about money trying to settle an argument

2a : a reason given for or against a matter under discussion They presented their arguments in favor of the proposal.

b : a form of rhetorical expression intended to convince or persuade

3 : an abstract (see abstract entry 2 sense 1) or summary especially of a literary work

4 : the subject matter especially of a literary work

5a mathematics : one of the independent variables upon whose value that of a function depends

b grammar : a substantive (such as the direct object of a transitive verb) that is required by a predicate in grammar

c mathematics : amplitude sense 4

6 obsolete : an outward sign : indication

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Examples of argument in a Sentence

They made a compelling argument for our participation. The committee presented strong arguments against building a new school. a lawyer's closing argument at the trial His argument did not convince his opponents. Let us accept, for the sake of argument, that she is right. Don't you want to hear both sides of the argument? They were always getting into arguments about politics. There were many arguments about the new design. They settled an argument that started in class. I don't want to hear any arguments about whether you'll go.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The lawsuit’s central argument is that Congress’s decision late last year to eliminate the penalty for being uninsured cannot be separated from the rest of the law. Amy Goldstein, Washington Post, "Democrats say Kavanaugh could help end Obamacare, but court likely to deal with narrower issues," 12 July 2018 The argument is usually about the strike zone, but if the people arguing follow baseball’s unwritten rules, the crowd will never know there’s a disagreement. Lee Judge Special To The Star, kansascity, "Debate at the plate: Baseball's unwritten rules for arguing balls and strikes," 11 July 2018 Fighting becomes a problem if the arguments are nasty and result in personal attacks, leaving both partners feeling drained and small. Brianna Mcgurran, The Seattle Times, "How to fight about money and stay madly in love," 10 July 2018 But beyond the constitutional infirmities with Mr. Henninger’s argument is a practical problem. WSJ, "Correcting the Record on Judicial Activism," 9 July 2018 Deputies are working to determine what the argument was about and are questioning a man involved, Cannaday said. Lisa Maria Garza,, "One man dead, another critically injured after shooting at Colonial Town Park, Seminole deputies say," 8 July 2018 This argument is central to LaBruce's 2017 feature The Misandrists, screening this week at Facets Cinematheque; in fact several characters state it outright. Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "Lesbian revolutionaries smash sexual taboos to undermine the patriarchy in Bruce LaBruce's The Misandrists," 6 July 2018 Yet some ethicists say such arguments are unconvincing, if not self-serving. Charles Piller, Science | AAAS, "Hidden conflicts? Pharma payments to FDA advisers after drug approvals spark ethical concerns," 5 July 2018 The city of Chicago has paid out more than half a billion dollars in police misconduct settlements since 2015, so Green’s argument is a legitimate one. Terrell Jermaine Starr, The Root, "Chicago Activist Rides Progressive Wave in Mayor's Race," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'argument.' 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 argument

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 6

History and Etymology for argument

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin argumentum, from arguere — see argue

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Statistics for argument

Last Updated

2 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for argument

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

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More Definitions for argument



English Language Learners Definition of argument

: a statement or series of statements for or against something

: a discussion in which people express different opinions about something

: an angry disagreement


ar·​gu·​ment | \ˈär-gyə-mənt \

Kids Definition of argument

1 : an angry disagreement : quarrel

2 : a reason for or against something There's a strong argument for changing the law.

3 : a discussion in which reasons for and against something are given Let's hear both sides of the argument.



Legal Definition of argument 

1 : a reason or the reasoning given for or against a matter under discussion — compare evidence, proof

2 : the act or process of arguing, reasoning, or discussing especially : oral argument

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Comments on argument

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


playful or foolish behavior

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