Definition of argue in English:



  • 1[reporting verb] Give reasons or cite evidence in support of an idea, action, or theory, typically with the aim of persuading others to share one's view.

    [with clause] ‘sociologists argue that inequalities in industrial societies are being reduced’
    [no object] ‘he argued for extra resources’
    [with direct speech] ‘‘It stands to reason,’ she argued’
    • ‘Cynics will argue that the new rules are another way artificially to manipulate the sport.’
    • ‘Optimists argue that companies are awash with cash and their balance sheets are strong.’
    • ‘Some might argue that they are currently at the top of their game but facing great challenges.’
    • ‘They argue that only a total ban could give the industry any chance of a long-term future.’
    • ‘We argue that their claim is built on a confusion and lacks a deep physical model.’
    • ‘Supporters argue that wind farms are a small price to pay for saving the planet.’
    • ‘The firms argue that all they did was agree to buy shares in each other's companies.’
    • ‘Economists would now argue that this is no less justified than the labour theory of value.’
    • ‘Some even argue that turning away work makes you seem even more employable to a client!’
    • ‘Some people argue that libertarianism is not a theory of equality or mutual advantage.’
    • ‘Rousseau argued that reason had led man out of his innocent state of nature into decadence.’
    • ‘Many now argue that the reporter is needed to provoke engagement with the viewer.’
    • ‘Some would argue that he should get his affairs as they currently stand in order.’
    • ‘Some argue that boxing has a lower death rate per year from acute injury than other sports.’
    • ‘Many argue that female models do not serve as good examples for women to follow.’
    • ‘Several writers argue that, when we are moved by this idea, our aim is to achieve equality.’
    • ‘When you examine the teams man for man, I would argue that we are definitely the stronger.’
    • ‘Many people would argue that once you have attended one you have a good idea of what the games are all about.’
    • ‘Some argue that this blurring of the boundary between our work and private lives need not be a bad thing.’
    • ‘However the water authorities argue that it would be unfair to the rest of their customers.’
    contend, assert, declare, maintain, state, proclaim, advance, insist, hold, claim, aver, avow, reason, attest, expostulate, testify, swear, certify
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    1. 1.1[with object]Persuade someone to do or not to do (something) by giving reasons.
      ‘I tried to argue him out of it’
      • ‘You may discuss anything, but don't argue; don't try to argue them into a position.’
      • ‘He probably could send envoys to most UIA deputies and argue them out of supporting him.’
      • ‘In vain would anyone try to argue me out of this feeling, it is stronger than any proofs; you might as well try to convince me that I do not exist.’
      • ‘He's certainly right on the latter and I'm sure any of the legal bloggers could argue me into a corner on the former.’
      • ‘‘I'll see what I can do,’ he said and hung up before she could argue him into changing his sentence to ‘I'll do it’.’
      • ‘I've also had my fair share of people trying to argue me into believing, which I feel is entirely unfair as I have not tried to push my views upon other people, just presented my opinion when asked for it - as I am doing now.’
      • ‘She was said to have been martyred after refuting 50 pagan philosophers who were sent to argue her out of her faith.’
      • ‘He is equally non-judgmental about her baffled husband and the struck-off doctor who rescues her from one suicide bid and argues her out of another.’
      • ‘As far as she was concerned, Timothy was ‘Daddy’, and there was no arguing her out of it.’
      • ‘I dutifully got out my trusty green and red markers and set to work on one, but in the end, I argued Dad out of the idea by saying that the sign would make us sound illicit.’
      • ‘I'm glad you liked the part where Angela's arguing Ember into ditching school, but I'm not sure why… er, thanks!’
      • ‘But, oddly enough Michelle had argued her into it and here sat Adri Rionach, at a piano on the stage in the main lounge of the hotel.’
      • ‘I tried to argue him out of paying, but he insisted.’
      • ‘Sometimes, you can argue them into dropping the requirement but sometimes you can't.’
      • ‘Yemen's judges have pioneered apparently effective ways of ‘deprogramming’ them by arguing them out of their warped view of the world.’
      persuade to, convince to, prevail on to, coax into
      talk someone round
      dissuade from, persuade against, talk out of
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  • 2[no object] Exchange or express diverging or opposite views, typically in a heated or angry way.

    ‘the two men started arguing in a local pub’
    figurative ‘I wasn't going to argue with a gun’
    [with object] ‘she was too tired to argue the point’
    • ‘You get in rows with people every week and argue with them and you respect them as fellow pros.’
    • ‘It's hard to argue with any event that ends up with the best players in the world in the top positions.’
    • ‘Of that Borg is certain, and who would argue with one who dominated Wimbledon like no other?’
    • ‘He was apparently angry after arguing with his girlfriend and took out that anger on the dog.’
    • ‘Instead, he is dangling before its recipients a lump sum that is difficult to argue with.’
    • ‘There are few people who would argue with him that this is the best way to encourage recycling.’
    • ‘He couldn't argue with that, seeing as he was the one who wrote the cursed things in the first place.’
    • ‘Somebody once said that golf is a good walk spoiled, and you can't really argue with that.’
    • ‘He did not object and left, but the court was told the defendant started to argue with another man about it.’
    • ‘It is hard to argue with the age and quality of most of the new signings, whether on loan or permanent.’
    • ‘He got his telescope and set it up and he watched Juliet argue with her parents in the front room.’
    • ‘Certainly I don't argue with the people who say that by and large nobody ever watches it.’
    • ‘Surely will no one will argue with the sentiment that the company should and must do better.’
    • ‘Right now he was exhausted and couldn't be bothered to hear her voice and argue with her.’
    • ‘Few argue with the need to improve the shabby eyesore which blights much of Piccadilly.’
    • ‘The locals were incensed and came out of their homes to argue with the soldiers.’
    • ‘They don't get it right all the time, but we can't argue with their judgement on this one.’
    • ‘Few in this country would argue with the view that the regime is unacceptable.’
    • ‘That hasn't stopped you going on and on and on, arguing over a single word.’
    • ‘Jessica even started to argue with the people who so adamantly disliked my slideshow.’
    quarrel, disagree, row, squabble, bicker, fight, wrangle, dispute, feud, have a row, bandy words, have words, cross swords, lock horns, be at each other's throats
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  • argue the toss

    • informal Dispute a decision or choice already made.

      ‘one person argued the toss for four hours before he agreed to pay’
      • ‘After all, you could argue the toss about this from now until next Christmas if you liked.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, our politicians are arguing the toss about when elections should take place.’
      • ‘I'd been arguing the toss with someone who really should know.’
      • ‘Although Leith Walk technically begins at Pilrig Church, about halfway down, only ancient sea dogs and local history buffs are going to argue the toss.’
      • ‘Nonetheless it might be fun arguing the toss, we thought.’
      • ‘Yet today many argue the toss on animal culling from the perspective of the animal.’
      • ‘Started off none too badly, got there and K was arguing the toss with one of the bouncers because they weren't going to let us in without student cards.’
      • ‘Journalists usually steered clear of quoting science either way, with newspapers allowing opinion space for advocates on either side to argue the toss.’
      • ‘First up is a voter apparently keen to argue the toss over the future - or, more accurately, the past - of the Scottish regiments.’
      • ‘While both unions and employers argue the toss about companies' ability to award the next pay round, they now agree that if cuts have to be made they must be spread evenly.’
      • ‘Few hotly contested sporting finals would see a manager argue the toss with a spectator questioning his tactics.’
      • ‘Older people, particularly those who are frail or who live alone, are much less likely to argue the toss over an unreasonable bill or to question the work that ‘needs’ to be done.’
      • ‘And if they want to argue the toss about it, they have 28 days to prove they were strong-armed into switching against their will.’
      • ‘One person argued the toss for four hours before he agreed to pay, another offered the clamper a £20 cash bribe and we get countless excuses every day.’
      • ‘I see the words ‘heated discussion’ and realise that I probably wasn't nodding my head (as I remember it) but shaking it violently and arguing the toss (as Ian remembers it).’
      • ‘I COULD argue the toss for as long as you like about Wednesday night's England friendly in Gothenburg.’
      • ‘For the first time in years of arguing the toss with these people, I've made a conversion.’
      • ‘I listened to a couple of people arguing the toss about who was the wronged party.’
      • ‘Then, in the mid-19th century, the Parsis of Bombay took it up, followed by the Hindus, and soon hundreds of local players were arguing the toss with a dozen English polo players over who should have use of the large playing area, the Maidan.’
      • ‘Rather than arguing the toss, we'd be better off planting some extra vegetables in case we're lumbered with food rationing.’


Middle English: from Old French arguer, from Latin argutari prattle, frequentative of arguere make clear, prove, accuse.