Word curio icon

Word Curio

April 5, 2020

Word of the Day: Argy-bargy

1 CQ

Word of the Day : June 25, 2017

argy-bargy \ahr-jee-BAHR-jee\ noun


: a lively discussion : argument, dispute


The tenants got into a bit of an argy-bargy over their shared porch.

"I would object to the leaders' debates much less if they took place only on the radio. Then there wouldn't be all the argy-bargy about who stands where, wearing what." — Charles Moore, The Daily Telegraph (London), 24 Apr. 2017

Did You Know?

Argy-bargy and its slightly older variant argle-bargle have been a part of British English since the second half of the 19th century. Argy and argle evolved in certain English and Scottish dialects as variant forms of argue. As far as we can tell, bargy and bargle never existed as independent words; they only came to life with the compounds as singsong reduplications of argy and argle. Some other colorful words that can be used for a dispute in English are squabble, contretemps, and donnybrook.

Aired June 25, 2017

All Merriam-Webster content is available at

  • Recommended Recommended
  • History & In Progress History
  • Browse Library
  • Most Popular Library

Get Personalized Recommendations

Let us help you figure out what to learn! By taking a short interview you’ll be able to specify your learning interests and goals, so we can recommend the perfect courses and lessons to try next.

Start Interview

You don't have any lessons in your history.
Just find something that looks interesting and start learning!

500 characters max