General English


  • verb to argue that something is wrong


  • A disagreement between the owner and the contractor as to a question of fact or contract interpretation which cannot be resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties.

Origin & History of “dispute”

Dispute comes via Old French disputer from Latin disputāre, a compound verb formed from the prefix dis- ‘separately’ and putāre ‘consider, reckon, think’ (source of a wide range of English words, from computer to reputation). It was originally a commercial term, denoting the calculation of a sum by considering each of its items separately, but its meaning eventually broadened out to ‘estimate, examine, weigh up’ – either mentally or (the sense which prevailed) by discussion with others. The neutral sense ‘discuss’ held centre stage in classical Latin, but later (in the Vulgate, for instance) a note of acrimony appeared, signalling the beginnings of dispute’s current sense ‘argue’.