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1808 Scottish,[1][2][3] from earlier argle (16th century), presumably from argue +‎ -le ((frequentative)), though possibly from Old Norse (Suio-Gothic) ierga[1] – possibly influenced by haggle[4] – plus rhyming reduplication, possibly from bargain, found in early variant aurgle-bargain (1720).[3][5]


argle-bargle (countable and uncountable, plural argle-bargles)

  1. (slang) A verbal argument.
    • 1992, Rebecca Ward, Grand Deception (page 43)
      Wendell and I have had our share of argle-bargles about the morality of hunting.
    • 2013, United States v. Windsor, 544 U.S. 744, 799 (2013) (Scalia, J., dissenting)
      As I have said, the real rationale of today’s opinion, whatever disappearing trail of its legalistic argle-bargle one chooses to follow, is that DOMA is motivated by '"bare . . . desire to harm"' couples in same-sex marriages.


argle-bargle (third-person singular simple present argle-bargles, present participle argle-bargling, simple past and past participle argle-bargled)

  1. (slang) To argue.

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  1. 1.0 1.1 John Jamieson, Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Tongue. p. 82
  2. ^ Scalia's argle-bargle”, Ben Zimmer, Language Log, June 27, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 Words in the Courtroom, from Mobspeak to "Argle-Bargle", Ben Zimmer, Word Routes, June 27, 2013
  4. ^ Word Detective, Issue of January 5, 2006, “Put up your duke's.”, Evan Morris.
  5. ^ “But ’tis a Daffin to debate, / And aurgle-bargain with our Fate.” —Allan Ramsay, Poems, “The Rise and Fall of Stocks, 1720. An Epistle to the Right Honorable my Lord Ramsay.”, p. 270