Sooner or later in life, it happens to everyone to argue… and then to vent to someone to tell them everything. But, if you think about it, saying “I had an argument with him”, “I’m arguing with her” can be a little boring. Don’t you think? In this lesson, you’ll be given the alternatives to the verb “litigare” (to argue), each one with its own shades and peculiarities.
10 Ways to Replace the Verb “LITIGARE” in Italian
There are several ways to say that you argued with someone in Italian and these differ from each other according to their level of intensity and to the modalities involved in the argument. These expressions are valid alternatives to be used in different contexts, allowing you to be more accurate and avoiding to sound repetitive.
Ready to find them out together?
1. Discutere / Avere una discussione (to discuss/ to have an argument or discussion)
It means to converse kind of animatedly on a topic, but also to debate or to have a change of perspectives.
It can be used both with the meaning of “to argue” (in words), and both with the meaning of “having a peaceful conversation on a specific topic, sharing ideas and opinions”, without arguing.
- Durante la riunione di condominio , i condomini hanno avuto un’accesa discussione, così non è stata presa nemmeno una decisione. (“During a condominium meeting, the residents had a fierce argument, so no decision was made.”)
- Io e il mio studente abbiamo discusso delle tradizioni in Italia e nel suo Paese. (“My student and I discussed about Italy’s and his country’s traditions.”)
2. Rimbeccarsi (to retort)
To argue exchanging critical and hostile jokes; arguing back and forth. It emphasizes the speed, the perspicacity and the vivacity of the interactions between the litigants.
- Hanno un brutto carattere: si rimbeccano tutto il giorno in ufficio! (“They have a bad character: they retort each other all day in the office!”)
3. Bisticciare (to bicker)
To argue with someone energetically, but in a playful and not serious way.
Usually, tend to bicker two people who generally get along, but who don’t back down when it comes to express an opinion or a different point of view.
- Paolo e sua moglie bisticciano sempre quando devono scegliere dove passare le vacanze. (“Paolo and his wife always bicker when they have to choose where to spend their holidays”)
4. Battibeccare (to quarrel)
“Bisticciare” (to bicker) synonym.
A quarrel, in fact, it’s a minor argument, a back and forth discussion [less intense than “rimbeccarsi” (to retort)].
- Quando hanno cominciato a parlare di politica, la cena si è trasformata in un battibecco continuo. (“When they began to talk about politics, dinner turned in a continuous quarrel“)
5. Attaccare briga (to pick a fight)
To pick a fight, to provoke, to cause, to start a fight.
From this verb derives a widely employed noun: a troublemaker, that is a person always ready to start a fight with everyone.
- È una persona odiosa: orgogliosa, maleducata e attaccabrighe! Meglio non averci niente a che fare… (“It’s a unpleasant person: proud, rude and troublemaker! It’s better to not have anything to do with him…”)
6. Avere un alterco / Altercarsi (to have a dispute/ to dispute)
To have a violent verbal confrontation, but still without having a fight, without physical violence.
Another similar expression is to “avere un diverbio” (to have a disagreement).
They all are quite formal.
- L’alterco tra gli automobilisti a seguito dell’incidente è stato placato dalla Polizia Stradale. (“The dispute between the drivers following the car accident was appeased by the local Police”)
7. Questionare (to fight)
To debate in an animated way, also quite violent [like altercarsi (to dispute). However, it can also mean “intrattenere una discussione” (to have a discussion), (in the most relaxed sense of the term), followe by the prepositions DI (of) or SU (on) (to fight about politics, to fight about current events).
But maybe it’s the less employed verb of the list.
- So che questo è un mio grosso limite ma non posso rinunciare a questionare per ogni problema che si presenta. (“I know that this is one of my biggest limits, but I can’t give up on fighting about every arising problem.”)
8. Azzuffarsi (to wrangle)
To lively discuss, often getting physical; to argue not only verbally, but also with physical violence.
- Quando si sono incrociati, i due grossi cani si sono ringhiati contro, ma il guinzaglio gli ha impedito di azzuffarsi. (“When they bumped into each other, two big dogs growled against each other, but the leash prevented them from wrangling.”)
9. Accapigliarsi (to squabble)
To heatedly debate animatamente using physical violence [like azzuffarsi (to wrangle)].
It’s often used also ironically to enhance the drama and the chaos during the debate, even if there was no physical violence.
- Sono in 5 in casa con un solo bagno, perciò ogni mattina si accapigliano per chi deve usarlo. (“They’re 5 in a house with only one bathroom, so every morning they squabble for whom has to use it.”)
10. Avere una rissa (to have a brawl)
To have a violent argument. It suggests that it’s about more people.
- Mentre erano al bar, si sono ritrovati in una rissa e sono anche stati colpiti, ma stanno bene per fortuna. (“While they were at the bar, they found themselves in a brawl and they were also hit, but luckily they are fine.”)
Well, this is all for this lesson. Let me know with a comment if you liked this article and if it was useful. Did you already know all these expressions?
If you liked this article, you might also find interesting the one on the ALTERNATIVE ways to say “SONO TRISTE” in Italian too.
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