1. Argument, controversy, dispute imply the expression of opinions for and against some idea. An argument usually arises from a disagreement between two persons, each of whom advances facts supporting his or her own point of view. A controversy or a dispute may involve two or more persons. A dispute is an oral contention, usually brief, and often of a heated, angry, or undignified character: a violent dispute over a purchase. A controversy is an oral or written expression of contrary opinions, and may be dignified and of some duration: a political controversy.