a. A discussion in which the parties involved express disagreement with one another; a debate: philosophical arguments over the nature of existence.
b. An angry discussion involving disagreement among the participants; a quarrel: The roommates had an argument about whose turn it was to wash the dishes.
c. Archaic A reason or matter for dispute or contention: "sheath'd their swords for lack of argument" (Shakespeare).
a. A course of reasoning aimed at demonstrating truth or falsehood: presented a strong argument for the arts in education.
b. A fact or statement put forth as proof or evidence; a reason: The current low mortgage rates are an argument for buying a house now.
c. A set of statements in which one follows logically as a conclusion from the others.
a. A summary or short statement of the plot or subject of a literary work.
b. A topic; a subject: "You and love are still my argument" (Shakespeare).
4. Logic The minor premise in a syllogism.
a. The independent variable of a function.
b. The angle of a complex number measured from the positive horizontal axis.
6. Computers A value used to evaluate a procedure or subroutine.
7. Linguistics A word, phrase, or clause in a semantic relation with a word or phrase and that helps complete the meaning of that word or phrase, such as a noun phrase that is the object of a verb. The clause that we go is an argument of the verb suggest in the sentence I suggest that we go.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin argūmentum, from arguere, to make clear; see ARGUE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.