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altercātĭo, ōnis, f. [altercor], a strife or contest in words, a dispute, debate; either with or without passion: ἀμοιβαῖος λόγος, Gloss. Philox. (perh. not entirely dignified, since Cic. uses it several times in his Epistt. and philos. writings; but in his Oratt. disceptatio and contentio generally take its place).
- I. In gen.: in pauciores avidos altercatio est, * Plaut. Aul. 3, 5, 11: dies consumptus est altercatione Lentuli consulis et Caninii tribuni plebis, Cic. Fam. 1, 2: redeo ad altercationem, id. Att. 1, 16 med.; so id. ib. 4, 13: oritur mihi magna de re altercatio cum Velleio, id. N. D. 1, 6, 15; Liv. 4, 6: magna ibi non disceptatio modo, sed etiam altercatio fuit, id. 38, 32; 1, 7; 10, 40; 35, 17: Cn. Domitius collegae suo altercatione ortā objecit, quod etc., Val. Max. 9, 1, 4; Tac. H. 4, 7: verborum altercatio, Scrib. Comp. 181: in altercatione barbam invadere, Suet. Caes. 71.
- II. Esp., in rhet., an altercation; a kind of discourse in a court of justice, which is not continuous, but where one seeks to vanquish his opponent by interposed questions, sometimes mingled with abuse (cf. Quint. 6, 3, 4; 4, 1, 28, and altercor, II.), Cic. Brut. 44, 164.