ar·​gu·​ment | \ ˈär-gyə-mənt How to pronounce argument (audio) \

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 argument to allow fans into games isn’t just about COVID-19 death rates vs. the number of positive cases either. Joseph Goodman |, al, "For college football, the stakes are too high to ignore," 9 July 2020 There’s an emerging argument that maybe there could be a direct substitute for fossil natural gas in the form of renewable natural gas (RNG) – a renewable fuel designed to be nearly indistinguishable from fossil natural gas. Emily Grubert, The Conversation, "‘Renewable’ natural gas may sound green, but it’s not an antidote for climate change," 6 July 2020 The ruling was the third major case in a week in which Chief Justice John Roberts voted with the Court’s four liberal Justices and rejected a legal argument backed by President Trump and conservative Republicans. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "What John Roberts’s Surprise Abortion-Rights Ruling Means for the Future of Roe v. Wade," 29 June 2020 Others have made the argument that Wilson’s situation is emblematic of the broader mistreatment of inmates during the pandemic and people of color in the criminal justice system. Cleo Krejci, The Arizona Republic, "Navajo County case highlights debate over treatment of inmates during COVID-19," 25 June 2020 At the very least, the book could undercut the Trump campaign’s argument that the president is far tougher on China than Biden would be, if elected. Jordan Fabian, Fortune, "John Bolton’s new book claims Trump sought Xi Jinping’s help to win 2020 election," 18 June 2020 The Department of Justice argued a complaint can be filed under the 2012 cybercrime law for up to 12 years, countering Rappler's argument that Mr. Keng's complaint was invalid due to being outside the one-year deadline for libel. Jim Gomez And Aaron Favila, The Christian Science Monitor, "Manila court convicts Philippines' top journalist in libel case," 15 June 2020 And that rhetoric helped further the argument that women’s suffrage was socially acceptable, even to those who might not otherwise have supported it. Suyin Haynes, Time, "‘Persevere Through the Highs and Lows.’ What We Can Still Learn From the Suffragists Who Fought for the Right to Vote During the 1918 Flu Pandemic," 3 June 2020 House Republicans stripped King of his committee assignments in 2019 after comments that seemed to defend white nationalism, providing fuel for Feenstra's argument that King was no longer an effective representative for the 4th District. Steve Peoples, Anchorage Daily News, "With victories in 7 states, Biden closes in on Democratic presidential nomination," 3 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for argument

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for argument

Last Updated

5 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Argument.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for argument


How to pronounce argument (audio)

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 How to pronounce argument (audio) \

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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