From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:
Altercation \Al'ter*ca"tion\ (?; 277), noun [F. altercation, fr. L. altercatio.] Warm contention in words; dispute carried on with heat or anger; controversy; wrangle; wordy contest. "Stormy altercations." --Macaulay.
Usage: The term dispute is in most cases, but not necessarily, applied to a verbal contest; as, a dispute on the lawfulness of war. An altercation is an angry dispute between two parties, involving an interchange of severe language. A wrangle is a confused and noisy altercation.
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:
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