Definition of altercation in US English:



  • A noisy argument or disagreement, especially in public.

    ‘I had an altercation with the conductor’
    • ‘The main problem with such TV altercations is that they pretend to be about openness and honesty but in fact embrace no such virtues.’
    • ‘In each case the scenario was exactly the same: traffic altercations where some minor (in two cases imagined) transgression was blown out of proportion by the Frenchman.’
    • ‘Having witnessed many altercations in dressing rooms I don't think that was a sackable offence.’
    • ‘So why should their little battlefield altercations have scared her?’
    • ‘Despite the public altercations, there are many signs that East Asia's two great powers are edging closer together.’
    • ‘At the very least, wouldn't the altercations have resulted in assault and battery charges and produced a paper trail retrievable across the decades?’
    • ‘Instead, despite legal safeguards, doctors would generally rule that for their patients to be admitted to such places, two serious altercations must occur, with usually at least one injury inflicted.’
    • ‘Snakes that are housed together in captivity sometimes have little altercations over food.’
    • ‘The students of this Christian high school are held to a higher code of conduct than might be expected in the public school environment and few fights or violent altercations occur between students.’
    • ‘I think there is a real need for the organisation to look at how best to deal with issues; in particular, verbal altercations between others.’
    • ‘On Wednesday night two feuding families became involved in an altercation.’
    • ‘Clearly, there have been countless outright fights and less physical altercations among players on the same team over the years, most lost in the dust of time and generally not even worth unearthing.’
    • ‘They quietened down after that, but then I couldn't sleep for a while because I don't like altercations or upsets of any kind.’
    • ‘Pilgrims do not engage in any disagreements or altercations.’
    • ‘While altercations between staff and parents whose children have been disciplined have long been a feature of school life, unions claim the use of mobile phones is giving neither children nor their parents time to cool off.’
    • ‘The ensuing altercations and hilarious testimonies provided an exciting two hours!’
    • ‘Different students were assigned to observe different mock altercations in which the people portraying the arguers were of different races.’
    • ‘He was a gentleman on and off the field and even when involved in altercations, took the role of mentor rather than an aggressor.’
    • ‘All of this inspired me to create a whimsical (but pointed) solution towards the elimination or reduction of these brutal altercations.’
    • ‘The group became involved in a verbal altercation with another group of younger males and a fist fight ensued.’
    argument, quarrel, squabble, fight, shouting match, contretemps, disagreement, difference of opinion, dissension, falling-out, dispute, disputation, contention, clash, acrimonious exchange, war of words, wrangle
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Late Middle English: from Latin altercatio(n-), from the verb altercari (see altercate).