Definition of argumentative in English:



  • 1Given to expressing divergent or opposite views.

    ‘an argumentative child’
    • ‘But while he as intelligent, charming, and witty, the Italian was also argumentative, mocking, and vain.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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).’
    • ‘Edinburgh [during the Enlightenment] is a tiny little place where there is a small group of argumentative, ferociously competitive, hard-drinking, brilliant men.’
    • ‘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 have found that, with my mother nursing me again, we have grown closer, even though my argumentative manner hasn't waned with my health.’
    • ‘But without being overly argumentative, I think some people, given what they know about your background, would want me to ask this question.’
    • ‘Despite a somewhat argumentative meeting with my boss on Friday, things smoothed out in the end so I'll have a good reference.’
    • ‘This is not the same as being argumentative, or arguing just for the sake of arguing.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Towards the end of my little encounter with Sophie Ward we argue about whether or not she is argumentative.’
    • ‘The visitors, too, were in argumentative mood.’
    • ‘I mean I'm softer but I'm argumentative at the same time.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Yes we argued, I'm an argumentative person but Dave can hold his own.’
    • ‘Reasoning, Toulmin argued, was an argumentative and persuasive activity, embedded in concrete human predicaments.’
    • ‘The argumentative tradition, if used with deliberation and commitment, can also be extremely important in resisting social inequalities and removing poverty and deprivation.’
    quarrelsome, disputatious, bickering, wrangling, captious, contrary, cantankerous, contentious, litigious, dissentient, polemical
    belligerent, bellicose, combative, antagonistic, aggressive, truculent, pugnacious
    View synonyms
  • 2Using or characterized by systematic reasoning.

    ‘the highest standards of argumentative rigor’
    • ‘If we have spent several class periods introducing conventions of reasoned evidence in argumentative writing, we usually look for such features in student papers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’


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