First documented in English in 1822, from Scots (where first recorded in 1808), from earlier argle (“argue obstinately, wrangle”) used in English since 16th century, presumably from argue + -le (“frequentative”), though possibly from Old Norse (Suio-Gothic) ierga – possibly influenced by haggle – plus rhyming reduplication, possibly from bargain, found in early variant aurgle-bargain (1720).
- (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.
- (slang) To argue.
- 1886 May 1 – July 31, Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Captain Knuckles Under”, in Kidnapped, being Memoirs of the Adventures of David Balfour in the Year 1751: […], London, Paris: Cassell & Company, Limited., published 1886, →OCLC, page 97:
- Last night ye haggled and argle-bargled like an apple-wife; and then passed me your word, and gave me your hand to back it; and ye ken very well what was the upshot. Be damned to your word!
- ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “argle”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
- John Jamieson, Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Tongue. p. 82
- ^ “Scalia's argle-bargle”, Ben Zimmer, Language Log, June 27, 2013
- Words in the Courtroom, from Mobspeak to "Argle-Bargle", Ben Zimmer, Word Routes, June 27, 2013
- ^ Word Detective, Issue of January 5, 2006, “Put up your duke's.”, Evan Morris.
- ^ “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