From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Altercation \Al`ter*ca"tion\ (?; 277), n. [F. altercation, fr.
   L. altercatio.]
   Warm contention in words; dispute carried on with heat or
   anger; controversy; wrangle; wordy contest. "Stormy
   altercations." --Macaulay.
   [1913 Webster]

   Syn: Altercation, Dispute, Wrangle.

   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.
          [1913 Webster]

                Their whole life was little else than a
                perpetual wrangling and altercation. --Hakewill.
          [1913 Webster]
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