from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A discussion in which disagreement is expressed; a debate.
  • noun A quarrel; a dispute.
  • noun Archaic A reason or matter for dispute or contention.
  • noun A course of reasoning aimed at demonstrating truth or falsehood.
  • noun A fact or statement put forth as proof or evidence; a reason.
  • noun A set of statements in which one follows logically as a conclusion from the others.
  • noun A summary or short statement of the plot or subject of a literary work.
  • noun A topic; a subject.
  • noun Logic The minor premise in a syllogism.
  • noun The independent variable of a function.
  • noun The angle of a complex number measured from the positive horizontal axis.
  • noun Computers A value used to evaluate a procedure or subroutine.
  • noun Linguistics A word, phrase, or clause in a semantic relation with a word or phrase and that helps complete the meaning of that word or phrase, such as a noun phrase that is the object of a verb. The clause that we go is an argument of the verb suggest in the sentence I suggest that we go.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun When one variable is dependent upon another, the dependent variable is called a function of the other variable, which is then called the argument of the function.
  • noun A statement or fact tending to produce belief concerning a matter in doubt; a premise or premises set forth in order to prove an assumption or conclusion.
  • noun [This, the familiar meaning of the word, probably originated in Roman law-courts. The usual definition given by Cicero and almost all authorities is ratio rei dubiœ faciens fidem, a reason causing belief of a doubtful matter. Boëtius in one place defines it as a medium proving a conclusion. The word medium here means a premise, or premises, according to all the commentators. (Petrus Hisp., tr. v. ad init.) But since medium usually means the middle term of a syllogism, some logicians have been led to give argument this signification.]
  • noun The middle term of a syllogism.
  • noun A reasoning; the process by which the connection between that which is or is supposed to be admitted and that which is doubted or supposed to need confirmation is traced or tested.
  • noun An address or composition made for the purpose of producing belief or conviction by reasoning or persuasion.
  • noun A series of argumentations for and against a proposition; a debate.
  • noun The subject-matter or groundwork of a discourse or writing; specifically, an abstract or summary of the chief points in a book or section of a book: as, the arguments prefixed to the several books of “Paradise Lost” were an afterthought.
  • noun Matter of contention, controversy, or conversation.
  • noun In mathematics: Of an imaginary quantity, the coefficient of the imaginary unit in its logarithm.
  • noun The angle or quantity on which a series of numbers in a numerical table depends and with which the table is entered.
  • To argue; debate; bring forward reasons.
  • To make the subject of an argument or debate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb obsolete To make an argument; to argue.
  • noun obsolete Proof; evidence.
  • noun A reason or reasons offered in proof, to induce belief, or convince the mind; reasoning expressed in words.
  • noun A process of reasoning, or a controversy made up of rational proofs; argumentation; discussion; disputation.
  • noun The subject matter of a discourse, writing, or artistic representation; theme or topic; also, an abstract or summary, as of the contents of a book, chapter, poem.
  • noun obsolete Matter for question; business in hand.
  • noun (Astron.) The quantity on which another quantity in a table depends.
  • noun (Math.) The independent variable upon whose value that of a function depends.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A fact or statement used to support a proposition; a reason.
  • noun A verbal dispute; a quarrel.
  • noun A process of reasoning.
  • noun philosophy, logic A series of propositions organized so that the final proposition is a conclusion which is intended to follow logically from the preceding propositions, which function as premises.
  • noun mathematics The independent variable of a function.
  • noun programming A value, or reference to a value, passed to a function.
  • noun programming A parameter in a function definition; an actual parameter, as opposed to a formal parameter.
  • noun linguistics Any of the phrases that bears a syntactic connection to the verb of a clause.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a discussion in which reasons are advanced for and against some proposition or proposal
  • noun (computer science) a reference or value that is passed to a function, procedure, subroutine, command, or program
  • noun a fact or assertion offered as evidence that something is true
  • noun a summary of the subject or plot of a literary work or play or movie


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin argūmentum, from arguere, to make clear; see argue.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Anglo-Norman, from Old French, from Latin argumentum ("proof, evidence, token, subject, contents"), from arguere ("to prove, argue"); see argue.


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  • Monty Python definition: An argument is a series of statements intended to establish a proposition. It isn't just contradiction.

    February 19, 2010