al·​ter·​cate ˈȯl-tər-ˌkāt How to pronounce altercate (audio)
altercated; altercating

intransitive verb

: to dispute angrily or noisily : wrangle

Example Sentences

this discussion is so silly we might as well altercate on how many angels can dance on the point of a needle

Word History


borrowed from Latin altercātus, past participle of altercārī, altercāre "to dispute vehemently, wrangle," derivative of alter "second, another" — more at alter

Note: The formation of altercārī is unclear. Ernout and Meillet (Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue latine, Paris, 1959/1985) assume that it is based on *altercus, an unattested variant of alternus "occurring in alternation" (see alternate entry 1). Leumann (Lateinische Laut- und Formenlehre, Munich, 1977) proposes syncope from *altericāre, with the suffix perhaps after duplicāre "to double" (see duplicate entry 1).

First Known Use

1530, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of altercate was in 1530

Dictionary Entries Near altercate

Cite this Entry

“Altercate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Mar. 2023.

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  • high school student holding a pencil leaning over a sat test
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