Quarrelling or quarreling

Quarrel Definition & Meaning - Merriam-Webster

1 of 3

quar·​rel ˈkwȯr(-ə)l ˈkwär(-ə)l 

: a square-headed bolt or arrow especially for a crossbow


2 of 3


: a ground of dispute or complaint

have no quarrel with a different approach


: a usually verbal conflict between antagonists : altercation


3 of 3

intransitive verb


: to find fault

many people quarrel with the idea—Johns Hopkins Magazine


: to contend or dispute actively

quarreled frequently with his superiors—London Calling

quarreler noun

or quarreller


Noun (2)

  • altercation
  • argle-bargle [chiefly British]
  • argument
  • argy-bargy [chiefly British]
  • battle royal
  • bicker
  • brawl
  • contretemps
  • controversy
  • cross fire
  • disagreement
  • dispute
  • donnybrook
  • falling-out
  • fight
  • hassle
  • imbroglio
  • kickup
  • misunderstanding
  • rhubarb
  • row
  • scrap
  • set-to
  • spat
  • squabble
  • tiff
  • wrangle


  • altercate
  • argue
  • argufy
  • bicker
  • brabble
  • brawl
  • controvert
  • dispute
  • fall out
  • fight
  • hassle
  • jar
  • quibble
  • row
  • scrap
  • spat
  • squabble
  • tiff
  • wrangle

See all Synonyms & Antonyms in Thesaurus 

Example Sentences

Verb The children quarrel all the time. She and her husband are always quarreling about money. I don't want to quarrel with you.

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English, from Anglo-French, square block of stone, bolt, from Vulgar Latin *quadrellum, diminutive of Latin quadrum square — more at quadrate

Noun (2)

Middle English querele, from Anglo-French, from Latin querela grievance, complaint, from queri to complain

First Known Use

Noun (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler

The first known use of quarrel was in the 13th century

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Cite this Entry



“Quarrel.Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quarrel. Accessed 20 Dec. 2022.

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Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun

quar·​rel ˈkwȯr(-ə)l ˈkwär(-ə)l 


: a cause of dispute or complaint


: an angry difference of opinion : dispute


2 of 2 verb


: to find fault

I quarrel with your version of what happened


: to argue forcefully or loudly : squabble

quarreler noun

or quarreller

More from Merriam-Webster on


Nglish: Translation of quarrel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of quarrel for Arabic Speakers

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Quarrel Definition & Meaning | Dictionary.

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[ kwawr-uhl, kwor- ]

/ ˈkwɔr əl, ˈkwɒr- /

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See synonyms for: quarrel / quarreled / quarreling / quarrelled on Thesaurus.com

This shows grade level based on the word's complexity.


an angry dispute or altercation; a disagreement marked by a temporary or permanent break in friendly relations.

a cause of dispute, complaint, or hostile feeling: She has no quarrel with her present salary.

verb (used without object), quar·reled, quar·rel·ing or (especially British) quar·relled, quar·rel·ling.

to disagree angrily; squabble; wrangle.

to end a friendship as a result of a disagreement.

to make a complaint; find fault.


1 argument, contention, controversy, difference, fight.

3 bicker, argue, brawl, fight.

See synonyms for quarrel on Thesaurus.com



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Origin of quarrel


1300–50; Middle English querele<Old French <Latin querēla, querella a complaint, derivative of querī to complain

synonym study for quarrel

1. Quarrel, dissension refer to disagreement and conflict. Quarrel applies chiefly to a verbal disagreement between individuals or groups and is used with reference to a large variety of situations, from a slight and petty difference of opinion to a violent altercation: It was little more than a domestic quarrel. Their quarrel led to the barroom brawl. Dissension usually implies a profound disagreement and bitter conflict. It also applies chiefly to conflict within a group or to members of the same group: dissension within the union; dissension among the Democrats.


quar·rel·er, nounquar·rel·ing·ly, adverbun·quar·rel·ing, adjectiveun·quar·rel·ling, adjective

Words nearby quarrel

quarkonium, quarks, quark star, Quarles, Quarnero, quarrel, quarrelsome, quarrian, quarrier, quarry, quarry-faced

Other definitions for quarrel (2 of 2)


[ kwawr-uhl, kwor- ]

/ ˈkwɔr əl, ˈkwɒr- /


a square-headed bolt or arrow, formerly used with a crossbow.

Also quarry. a small, square or diamond-shaped pane of glass, as used in latticed windows.

any of various tools with pyramidal heads.

Origin of quarrel


1175–1225; Middle English quarel<Old French <Medieval Latin quadrellus, diminutive of Latin quadrus square

Dictionary. com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

Words related to quarrel

altercation, argument, bickering, brawl, controversy, difference, discord, dispute, dissension, disturbance, falling-out, feud, fracas, misunderstanding, row, ruckus, run-in, spat, squabble, strife

How to use quarrel in a sentence

  • Many of the Djiboutian troops come from parts of the impoverished country where quarrels are often settled with fists, rocks or shards of glass, and some have the scars to prove it.

    America’s War in Afghanistan Is Over. But in the Horn of Africa, Its War on Terror Rages On|W.J. Hennigan/Camp Lemmonier, Djibouti|September 30, 2021|Time

  • After the quarrel, Tinterova allegedly went for a walk at night along a lonely road in the rural countryside.

    How Did This Couple’s Holiday End With a Woman Gunned Down?|Jeremy Kryt|September 30, 2021|The Daily Beast

  • The report also claims that some people believed they were lovers and having a lover’s quarrel in the elevator.

    Why it took 100 years for America to learn about the Tulsa massacre|Fabiola Cineas|May 30, 2021|Vox

  • Others wondered if the two had been sweet on each other and had a sort of lovers’ quarrel.

    To find answers about the 1921 race massacre, Tulsa digs up its painful past|Helen Thompson|May 27, 2021|Science News

  • In May 2018, however, the statue suddenly became the center of a quarrel that went far beyond local sensibilities.

    A City Tried to Move a Monument. The Fight That Ensued Shows the Power of History|Keith Lowe|December 8, 2020|Time

  • Their quarrel is with more recently formed verbs like incentivize.

    Go Ahead, End With a Preposition: Grammar Rules We All Can Live With|Nick Romeo|November 3, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • When quiet, he realized that the quarrel was a metaphor for the Arab-Israeli conflict.

    Jaffa: A Tale Of Two Lands|Lauren Gelfond Feldinger|February 16, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • For whenever I did so I was always reminded of that unfortunate quarrel.

    Beethoven in Love: The Woman Who Captivated the Young Composer|John Suchet|January 26, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • I share their concern about government, but this is not a quarrel with our government in Washington.

    Tea Party Strikes Out Against the Atlanta Braves|Patricia Murphy|November 27, 2013|DAILY BEAST

  • You can quarrel with that decision in all sorts of ways, but it is the worker, not the company, who gets most of the benefit.

    Why Can't Companies Find the Workers they Need?|Megan McArdle|November 15, 2012|DAILY BEAST

  • The consequence of this quarrel was that, early in 1794, he found himself accused as a ci-devant noble.

    Napoleon's Marshals|R. P. Dunn-Pattison

  • But he would not quarrel with so old a man as Monsieur Farival, so he quarreled with Mariequita.

    The Awakening and Selected Short Stories|Kate Chopin

  • Villerias had another quarrel of this sort with the latter, after which they were quite friendly.

    The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898, Volume XX, 1621-1624|Various

  • Suppose a quarrel breaks out in a branch association and two parties are formed, which of them is entitled to the property?

    Putnam's Handy Law Book for the Layman|Albert Sidney Bolles

  • Sometimes a quarrel springs up in one of these associations, the members divide, who shall have the property?

    Putnam's Handy Law Book for the Layman|Albert Sidney Bolles

British Dictionary definitions for quarrel (1 of 2)


/ (ˈkwɒrəl) /


an angry disagreement; argument

a cause of disagreement or dispute; grievance

verb -rels, -relling or -relled or US -rels, -reling or -reled (intr often foll by with)

to engage in a disagreement or dispute; argue

to find fault; complain

Derived forms of quarrel

quarreller or US quarreler, noun

Word Origin for quarrel

C14: from Old French querele, from Latin querēlla complaint, from querī to complain

British Dictionary definitions for quarrel (2 of 2)


/ (ˈkwɒrəl) /


an arrow having a four-edged head, fired from a crossbow

a small square or diamond-shaped pane of glass, usually one of many in a fixed or casement window and framed with lead

Word Origin for quarrel

C13: from Old French quarrel pane, from Medieval Latin quadrellus, diminutive of Latin quadrus square

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with quarrel


see pick a quarrel.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

What a quarrel dreams about: interpretation of dreams about a quarrel

Few people will be happy when they see a quarrel in a dream. Such a dream can be disturbing. It is very important to remember who the quarrel was with: with a loved one or a stranger. In addition, different dream books often offer conflicting meanings.

Quarrel in Vanga's dream book

The meaning of sleep depends on who the quarrel is with. A quarrel with a former passion - for money, with a person with whom you live together - for problems, with a stranger - for illness. nine0003

Quarrel in Freud's dream book

Quarrel, according to this dream book, often means dissatisfaction with personal life. For a man, arguing in a dream with his chosen one is a warning: you should be wary of enemies. A pregnant woman dreams of a quarrel for the birth of a healthy child.

Quarreling with parents - to trouble due to friends, with the older generation of the family - for vacation, with the boss - for a nervous breakdown, with outsiders - for extravagance and subsequent problems with money.

A quarrel in Miller's dream book

To see a quarrel in a dream is a harbinger of misfortune and squabbles in reality. This promises trouble for girls, discord in the family, and even divorce for married women. Other people's quarrels are a sign of problems at work.

Quarrel in Miss Hasse's dream book

According to this dream book, the interpretation of such a dream is quite pleasant: a quarrel in a dream promises a romantic acquaintance.

Quarrel in the dream book of Nostradamus

Quarrel in a dream portends a long separation from friends. Men may also be promised a promotion at work. Reconciliation after a major quarrel is, on the contrary, a bad sign that speaks of a break in relations with a loved one because of money. nine0003

Quarrel in the 21st century dream book

According to this dream book, a quarrel with someone in a dream portends good friendships. A quarrel between a man and a woman in reality promises love.

A quarrel in Tsvetkov's dream book

Such a dream tells about future problems at work. Swearing in a dream with a friend - to loss, with relatives - to the successful completion of the case, with a stranger - to a new occupation. A quarrel with a fight - to move. For a man, a quarrel with a former passion promises a joyful event, with a chosen one - replenishment in the family. nine0003

A quarrel in a French dream book

A quarrel in a dream portends a period of failure. A quarrel with a fight and bloodshed - to the illness of a relative.

Quarrel in Kananita's dream book

Most often, such a dream promises financial losses.

A quarrel with one person - to court losses, with a couple - to a new reliable friend, with a group of people - to popularity with the opposite sex.

A quarrel in Meneghetti's dream book

A quarrel in a dream promises a trip or a business trip. nine0003

Quarrel in the Esoteric dream book

It is important to pay attention to the weather. For example, quarreling in the rain is a nuisance at work.

Quarrel in the Family Dream Book

If in a dream you quarrel with someone, do not worry. Such a dream is a sign that in reality you will get closer even more.

Quarrel in the Chinese dream book

According to the Chinese dream book, a quarrel in a dream promises loneliness due to self-doubt.

Quarrel in Longo's dream book

A quarrel with neighbors portends a boring event, with colleagues - for a successful investment of money, with friends - for good luck in your personal life.

Quarrel in the Winter Dream Book

This dream book recommends paying attention to the time of day: a quarrel in the morning promises the appearance of an influential patron, in the afternoon - the restoration of professional reputation, in the evening - a low-paid job, at night - an unpleasant surprise from a former lover.

Quarrel in the Autumn Dream Book

The place of action is also important: if a quarrel in a dream occurs in the house, it speaks of fear of the future, at work - to praise from the leader, in the car - to an unexpected meeting, at a wedding - to a new love. nine0003

Expert comment

Kristina Duplinskaya, tarot reader (@storyteller.tarot):

If you quarrel with one of the relatives, then you will see each other soon, and if there was a discord, make peace.

If you are with a friend, his devotion will only increase. A quarrel in a dream with a stranger - to love. But with his beloved, alas, to treason. nine0003

If you only see a quarrel, but do not participate in it, this is a sign of professional troubles, up to disappointment in your business or place of work, depending on how strong the quarrel was in a dream.

Men swear - to jealousy, women - to evil gossip about you, children - to fun, husband and wife - to good news.

If you hear, but do not see, how they quarrel, this is also news. On the contrary, you see, but do not hear - you need to be careful, because of someone else's mistake you can suffer. nine0003

35 rules for a good quarrel

A good quarrel is better than a bad peace. It is even able to make the world between you and your partner more understandable to both, and at the same time more convenient and even more beautiful. You just need to know how to fight properly.

Website editor




quarrels in relationships


  • Think clearly. When making a complaint, look at a pre-compiled list. Invite your partner to do the same, then the words will convince and appeal to logic, not emotions.
  • If you want to make the period of a quarrel visible, avoid conflict-generating turns. In the words "should" or "must", for example, coercion is clearly heard. Threats, interrogation, unsolicited criticism, imposition or comparison with others will also not bring anything good. The quarrel will develop into an indefinite conflict, that's all. Did you really want this? nine0108
  • Mornings are wiser than evenings. It is best to conduct a quarrel after having a good rest and sleep. If you don't believe, go to bed - check.
  • Do you break dishes? Bay! If there is, ceramics. It's better to be done with a couple of plates than to lose control of yourself and say something that you didn't intend to. It is better to destroy a thing than a feeling. Just don't beat what is dear to him, or what he gave you.
  • The one who is less confident in himself orders. Learn to calmly answer your partner’s attempt to impose something on you: “Yes, I know that you have power and authority.” Then you can improvise on the topic, "but this does not give you the right" and "nevertheless, I can. " nine0108
  • Tears are a good manipulative method, but not suitable for repeated use. By the way, here it is useful to know the biography of a partner - maybe he already has strong immunity.
  • Hit below the belt only if you want to demolish the house more than repair it. A partner's sore spots can be his mother, friends, work, a new game - everything that is sacred to him and interferes with you. But if you have already decided to hit, then hit as much as possible ... correctly.
  • Determine for yourself the purpose of the quarrel and follow it. What do you want to achieve - attention, money, sex? Dot the i's in matters of jealousy or break off the relationship? Sow what you want to reap. nine0108
  • Learn to formulate. Not "your mother sticks her nose into our lives," but "outside interference, as it seems to me lately, greatly hinders our understanding with you."
  • The first to put up is not the most stupid, but the strongest. However, this is not a call to take the first step at all costs. It's up to you to decide when you're ready to roll the flags.
  • Respond correctly to a shout. Never answer the same. The fact that he is yelling at you only means that this is how the opponent's parents sorted things out. And the fact that you want to yell even louder in response means... well, guess what. nine0108
  • Silence, sudden and painful, is one of the most unpleasant, and, what’s more, very dishonest moves. If this is your method, know that problems are not solved with its help, and you are only wasting your partner's nerves. If it’s not you who is silent, but he, it’s better to be distracted and mind your own business. Most likely, realizing that the trick failed, your opponent will talk to you again.
  • Try to avoid ultimatums and don't fall for them yourself.
  • Draw a circle of other prohibited methods before things go too far. Tell him not to step on each other's favorite corns - you won't feel anything but pain. nine0108
  • Pouting after a quarrel for more than two days is bad taste and a kind of vampirism. Pumping guilt out of a partner indefinitely will not work anyway.
  • Balance: the closer one of you is to hysteria, the calmer the other should be.
  • Distinguish the reason for the quarrel from its true cause. That is, his going to the pub instead of the theater with you (reason) from the lack of affection and attention on his part (the real reason for your discontent).
  • In the process, do not forget about the purpose of the dispute, do not change the subject, although sometimes (we believe!) I really want to. In general, in the midst of an uncontrollable quarrel, it is useful to remember how it was launched, and it’s “pleasant” to be surprised: they started with the disks that are scattered on the table and interfere with putting the plate down, and ended with last year’s delay on the plane to Egypt. Strictly follow the rule: one quarrel - one subject for discussion. nine0108
  • Prevent criticism. A well-known psychological technique is a question like: "Darling, can I tell you what I don't like?" This smoothes the corners and reduces the intensity of passions. But when criticizing, suggest. Not "you do it badly", but "I would like you to do it this way and that way." Be as specific as possible!
  • Never quarrel in front of witnesses. If you are openly humiliated or insulted in the presence of other people (however, when there is no one around - also), stop the dialogue abruptly and immediately. nine0108
  • Using in a quarrel information received from a partner in a moment of intimacy and a burst of revelation is a bad form.
  • The tactics of humiliating and distorting the facts of your partner's biography known to you is a forbidden technique. Unlike silence, it is also ineffective.
  • If possible, do not interrupt: you only think that this will speed up the process.
  • Analyze if the quarrel is related to your sexual dissatisfaction. If this turns out to be the case, try to get what you want in a gentle and sanctioned way first. nine0108
  • Breaking a quarrel by disappearing from home is bad... for health. Mental - because unfinished business always takes away a personal resource.
  • Admit your guilt if you are accused with arguments - it works!
  • Try to recognize the merits of the partner as well - it works ten times better.
  • However, if a quarrel ends with passionate sex every time, it is better to delve into yourself - not without the help of specialists.
  • No "you always" or "you never". Remember that generalization is the enemy of specificity. nine0108
  • Case-by-case claim for a gun that can only be fired once. The quarrel exists in order to periodically reset the negative that arises from both sides.
  • Do not wave your fists after a fight. It is not necessary to clarify the issue of flirting with Galya at a party a week after there was a party. And evaluate whether it is useful to do this before dinner with his boss, appointed in an hour and a half at your place.
  • Especially explosive verbal patterns: "all because of you"; "it's your fault"; "you promised"; "should because"; "I told you!"; "if you loved me"; "mom was right".
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