1. argument, contention, controversy, difference, fight. Quarrel, dissension refer to disagreement and conflict. Quarrel applies chiefly to a verbal disagreement between individuals or groups and is used with reference to a large variety of situations, from a slight and petty difference of opinion to a violent altercation: It was little more than a domestic quarrel. Their quarrel led to the barroom brawl. Dissension usually implies a profound disagreement and bitter conflict. It also applies chiefly to conflict within a group or to members of the same group: dissension within the union; dissension among the Democrats. 3. bicker, argue, brawl, fight.