Speak English Salon

Vocab Building – Fighting Words ★★★★

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Fighting is an unfriendliness that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes.

A husband and his wife may have a quarrel, which suggests a heated verbal argument, with hostility that may persist even after it is over (Ex.it took them almost a week to patch up their quarrel).

Siblings tend to have squabbles, which are childlike disputes over trivial matters, although they are by no means confined to childhood (Ex.frequent squabbles over who would pick up the check).

spat is also a petty quarrel, but unlike squabble, it suggests an angry outburst followed by a quick ending without hard feelings (Ex.:another spat in an otherwise loving relationship).

row is more serious, involving noisy quarreling and the potential for physical violence (Ex.a row that woke the neighbors).

Neighbors are more likely to have an altercation, which is usually confined to verbal blows but may involve actual or threatened physical ones (: an altercation over the location of the fence).

dispute is also a verbal argument, but one that is carried on over an extended period of time (Ex.an ongoing dispute over who was responsible for taking out the garbage).

Two families who have been enemies for a long time are probably involved in a feud, which suggests a bitter quarrel that lasts for years or even generations (Ex.the feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys).

There is no dignity at all in being involved in a wrangle, which is an angry, noisy, and often futile dispute in which both parties are unwilling to listen to the other’s point of view.

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Author: Aonghas Crowe

Aonghas (pron. "Ennis") Crowe is an author, writer, blogger, and translator. He splits his time between Fukuoka, Japan and Beirut, Lebanon. Read more by Aonghas Crowe at www.aonghascrowe.com

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