Usage notesThe term dispute is in most cases, but not necessarily, applied to a verbal contest; as, a dispute on the lawfulness of war. An altercation is an angry dispute between two parties, involving an interchange of severe language. A wrangle is a confused and noisy altercation.
“What the hell is it to you who are my friends?” roared McMurdo in a voice which brought every head in the carriage round to witness the altercation. “Did I ask you for your advice, or did you think me such a sucker that I couldn't move without it? You speak when you are spoken to, and by the Lord you'd have to wait a long time if it was me!” He thrust out his face and grinned at the patrolmen like a snarling dog. —Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in The Valley of Fear
Kilkenny cats, argument, bicker, bickering, blood feud, brawl, broil, cat-and-dog life, combat, conflict, contention, contentiousness, contest, contestation, controversy, cut and thrust, debate, disputation, dispute, donnybrook, donnybrook fair, embroilment, enmity, falling-out, feud, fight, fighting, fliting, fracas, fuss, hostility, imbroglio, litigation, logomachy, open quarrel, paper war, polemic, quarrel, quarreling, quarrelsomeness, scrapping, sharp words, slanging match, snarl, spat, squabble, squabbling, strife, struggle, tiff, tussle, vendetta, war, war of words, warfare, words, wrangle, wrangling