altercation (n.)

late 14c., altercacioun, "angry contention with words," from Old French altercacion "altercation" (12c.) and directly from Latin altercationem (nominative altercatio) "a dispute, debate, discussion," noun of action from past-participle stem of altercari "to dispute (with another)," from alter "the other" (see alter). The notion perhaps is of "speaking alternately."

Altercation is the spoken part of a quarrel, the parties speaking alternately. An altercation is thus a quarrelsome dispute between two persons or two sides. [Century Dictionary]

updated on February 25, 2021