• (RP) IPA: /ˈɑːɡjʊmənt/
  • (GA) IPA: /ˈɑɹɡjumənt/, /ˈɑɹɡjʊmənt/, /ˈɑɹɡjəmənt/


  1. A fact or statement used to support a proposition; a reason.
    • There is […] no more palpable and convincing argument of the existence of a Deity.
  2. A verbal dispute; a quarrel.
  3. A process of reasoning.
    • 1689 (indicated as 1690), [John Locke], An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding. […], London: […] Thomas Basset, […], OCLC 153628242 ↗:
      The argument is not about things, but names.
  4. (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.
  5. (mathematics) The independent variable of a function.
  6. (mathematics) The phase of a complex number.
  7. (programming) A value, or reference to a value, passed to a function.
    • In ‘The Critic of Arguments’ (1892), Peirce adopts a notion that is even closer to that of a propositional function. There he develops the concept of the ‘rhema’. He says the rhema is like a relative term, but it is not a term. It contains a copula, that is, when joined to the correct number of arguments it produces an assertion. For example, ‘ is bought by from for ’ is a four-place rhema. Applying it to four objects a, b, c, and d produces the assertion that a is bought by b from c for d (ibid. 420).
    Parameters are like labeled fillable blanks used to define a function whereas arguments are passed to a function when calling it, filling in those blanks.
  8. (programming) A parameter at a function call; an actual parameter, as opposed to a formal parameter.
  9. (linguistics) Any of the phrases that bears a syntactic connection to the verb of a clause.
    • In numerous works over the past two decades, beginning with the pioneering work of Gruber (1965), Fillmore (1968a), and Jackendoff (1972), it has been argued that each Argument (i.e. Subject or Complement) of a Predicate bears a particular thematic role (alias theta-role, or θ-role to its Predicate), and that the set of thematic functions which Arguments can fulfil are drawn from a highly restricted, finite, universal set.
  10. (astronomy) The quantity on which another quantity in a table depends.
    The altitude is the argument of the refraction.
  11. 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.
    • 1598, William Shakespeare, "Sonnet 76":
      You and love are still my argument.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act 3 Scene 2:
      Belike this show imports the argument of the play.
      This show is perhaps the subject of the play.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book VI”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
      […] and nearer view
      Bristled with upright beams innumerable
      Of rigid spears, and helmets throng’d, and shields
      Various, with boastful argument portray’d,
      The banded pow’rs of Satan hasting on
      With furious expedition; […]
    • 1822 February, Francis Jeffrey, Lord Jeffrey, “Review of Sardanapalus: A Tragedy” in The Edinburgh Review:
      The abstract, or argument of the piece, is shortly as follows.
  12. Matter for question; business in hand.
    • 1595 December 9 (first known performance)​, William Shakespeare, “The life and death of King Richard the Second”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act I, scene i], page 23 ↗, column 1:
      As neere as I could ſift him on that argument,
      On ſome apparant danger ſeene in him,
      Aym‘d at your Highneſſe, no inueterate malice.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, “The Life of Henry the Fift”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene i], page 77 ↗, column 2:
      On, on, you Nobliſh Engliſh,
      Whoſe blood is fet from Fathers of Warre-proofe:
      Fathers, that like ſo many Alexanders,
      Haue in theſe parts from Morne till Euen fought,
      And ſheath’d their Swords, for lack of argument.
Synonyms Related terms

Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Verb

argument (arguments, present participle argumenting; past and past participle argumented)

  1. (nonstandard, NNES) To put forward as an argument; to argue.

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