Definition of argumentative in English:



  • 1Given to arguing.

    ‘an argumentative child’
    • ‘But while he as intelligent, charming, and witty, the Italian was also argumentative, mocking, and vain.’
    • ‘Reasoning, Toulmin argued, was an argumentative and persuasive activity, embedded in concrete human predicaments.’
    • ‘Edinburgh [during the Enlightenment] is a tiny little place where there is a small group of argumentative, ferociously competitive, hard-drinking, brilliant men.’
    • ‘Indeed, the seeds of bitterness germinating in him today are also the seeds of a disorganised, argumentative political party.’
    • ‘If he doesn't eat, his sugar is low, then he tends to get very argumentative, moody and bad-tempered.’
    • ‘This is not the same as being argumentative, or arguing just for the sake of arguing.’
    • ‘The addressee is encouraged to be assertive but not argumentative; friendly but not trusting; vigorous and impressive but not overstretching it.’
    • ‘I was getting a bit annoyed, knowing that he would turn up on the doorstep drunk and argumentative and I could think of a million and one things I would rather do than skirmish with a drunkard.’
    • ‘The argumentative tradition, if used with deliberation and commitment, can also be extremely important in resisting social inequalities and removing poverty and deprivation.’
    • ‘He remains on good terms with them 30 years later, and his encounters and phone conversations with Bono are the spine of the book - argumentative, philosophical and challenging.’
    • ‘The visitors, too, were in argumentative mood.’
    • ‘Yes we argued, I'm an argumentative person but Dave can hold his own.’
    • ‘I have found that, with my mother nursing me again, we have grown closer, even though my argumentative manner hasn't waned with my health.’
    • ‘Despite a somewhat argumentative meeting with my boss on Friday, things smoothed out in the end so I'll have a good reference.’
    • ‘I certainly feel like I get a good sampling of people who disagree with me, based on how frequently I end up commenting in an argumentative fashion.’
    • ‘But without being overly argumentative, I think some people, given what they know about your background, would want me to ask this question.’
    • ‘To be fair, I had a hard time maintaining my concentration at all (three complex and argumentative papers in less than an hour is excruciating).’
    • ‘I have been to two or three of these events and have been struck that they are often really engaging and argumentative and quite surprise the adults.’
    • ‘I mean I'm softer but I'm argumentative at the same time.’
    • ‘Towards the end of my little encounter with Sophie Ward we argue about whether or not she is argumentative.’
    quarrelsome, disputatious, bickering, wrangling, captious, contrary, cantankerous, contentious, litigious, dissentient, polemical
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  • 2Using or characterized by systematic reasoning.

    ‘the highest standards of argumentative rigour’
    • ‘I think you would have been in a much better argumentative position to come to us if you had said something at that time.’
    • ‘Stage 4: The teacher poses a discussion issue that requires argumentative reasoning and elaboration.’
    • ‘But in an ostensibly substantial and argumentative book review?’
    • ‘The paper then directed all of year 10 to select one question, answer it and discuss the reasons for their answer in an argumentative essay.’
    • ‘If we have spent several class periods introducing conventions of reasoned evidence in argumentative writing, we usually look for such features in student papers.’


Late Middle English: from Old French argumentatif, -ive or late Latin argumentativus, from argumentari ‘conduct an argument’.