If kids can't settle their own argument, they may need someone to mediate their dispute, or conflict. You can often tell this is the case if you hear the loud cry, "Mom!"

The noun dispute means any conflict or disagreement. The countries were in the middle of a border dispute; both sides claimed the toxic waste dump belonged to the other. As a verb, dispute can mean to quarrel or argue, but it can also mean to take exception to something. If your boasting friend crows because you lost the trivia game to her by 150 points, you may want to dispute the facts. It was only 145 points.

Definitions of dispute
  1. noun
    coming into conflict with
    synonyms: contravention
    see moresee less
    type of:
    group action in opposition to those in power
  2. noun
    a disagreement or argument about something important
    “he had a dispute with his wife”
    synonyms: conflict, difference, difference of opinion
    see moresee less
    show 13 types...
    hide 13 types...
    a conflict of opposed ideas or attitudes or goals
    arguing, argument, contention, contestation, controversy, disceptation, disputation, tilt
    a contentious speech act; a dispute where there is strong disagreement
    a difference (especially an unfortunate difference) between two opinions or two views or two situations
    dustup, quarrel, row, run-in, words, wrangle
    an angry dispute
    argle-bargle, argy-bargy
    a verbal dispute; a wrangling argument
    an outburst of controversy
    an argument in which the participants are trying to gain some advantage
    a controversy (especially over a belief or dogma)
    generation gap
    a difference between the views of young people and their parents
    an intense verbal dispute
    affray, altercation, fracas
    noisy quarrel
    bicker, bickering, fuss, pettifoggery, spat, squabble, tiff
    a quarrel about petty points
    a serious quarrel (especially one that ends a friendship)
    type of:
    the speech act of disagreeing or arguing or disputing
  3. verb
    have a disagreement over something
    synonyms: altercate, argufy, quarrel, scrap
    see moresee less
    show 4 types...
    hide 4 types...
    brawl, wrangle
    to quarrel noisily, angrily or disruptively
    engage in a brief and petty quarrel
    polemicise, polemicize, polemise, polemize
    engage in a controversy
    fall out
    have a breach in relations
    type of:
    argue, contend, debate, fence
    have an argument about something
  4. verb
    take exception to
    synonyms: challenge, gainsay
    see moresee less
    challenge the sincerity or truthfulness of
    challenge (somebody) to make good on a statement; charge with or censure for an offense
    type of:
    contend, contest, repugn
    to make the subject of dispute, contention, or litigation
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week