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Quarrel vs Wrangle vs Altercation vs Squabble vs Bickering vs Spat vs Tiff

Quarrelwranglealtercationsquabblebickeringspattiff are comparable when they mean a dispute marked by anger or discord on both sides.

The same distinctions in implications and connotations are found in their corresponding verbs, quarrel, wrangle, altercate, squabble, bicker, spat, tiff . Quarrel usually implies heated verbal contention, but it stresses strained or severed relations which may persist even after verbal strife has ceased.

Wrangle implies undignified and often futile disputation with noisy insistence on each person’s opinion.

Altercation and the rare verb altercate imply fighting with words as the chief weapons, though blows may also be connoted.

Squabble stresses childish and unseemly wrangling over a petty matter; it does not necessarily imply anger or bitter feeling.

Bickering and bicker imply constant and petulant verbal sparring or interchanges of cutting remarks; they suggest an irritable mood or mutual antagonism.

Spat also implies an insignificant cause but, unlike squabble and bicker, it suggests an angry out-burst and a quick ending without hard feelings.

Tiff differs from spat chiefly in implying a disagreement that manifests itself in ill humor or temporarily hurt feelings.