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[awl-ter-key-shuh n] /ˌɔl tərˈkeɪ ʃən/
a heated or angry dispute; noisy argument or controversy.
Origin of altercation
1350-1400; Middle English altercacioun < Latin altercātiōn- (stem of altercātiō). See altercate, -ion
quarrel, disagreement, clash; squabble, tiff. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for altercation
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Rao Sahib interposed, fearful of an altercation between his two most skillful commanders.

  • He resolved to be as prudent as possible, and avoid, as far as he could, any altercation with Haley.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • Passing a saloon one night alone, Gillis heard an altercation going on inside, and very naturally stepped in to enjoy it.

  • Heyward saw, by the manner of the scout, that altercation would be useless.

    The Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper
  • And now, at the very beginning, indeed, within less than a minute they were engaged in an altercation with them.

    In the grip of the Mullah F. S. Brereton
British Dictionary definitions for altercation


an angry or heated discussion or quarrel; argument
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for altercation

late 14c., from Old French altercacion (12c.) and directly from Latin altercationem (nominative altercatio) "a dispute, debate, discussion," noun of action from past participle stem of altercari "to dispute (with another)," from alter "other" (see alter).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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