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Argy Bargy

Posted by Masakim on November 05, 2003

In Reply to: Argy Bargy posted by Word Camel on November 04, 2003

: : : : In a message from an English friend:
: : : : Since that moment, much of the argy bargy in the struggles for power in the UK have been in the cause of Catholic v Protestant rule.
: : : : What does it mean?

: : : It's rhyming slang. 'Argy' is short for 'argument'. 'Bargy' is a made up word to rhyme with 'argy'. The whole thing simply means argument, confrontation, etc.

: : Ahhhh -- so "argy", being short for "argument", must be pronounced with a hard G, like "got"? Since I'd only ever read the expression, not heard it, I'd assumed it was a soft G (as in "giraffe"), viewing that -GY ending as similar to the one in "rangy" -- meaning tall and slender.

: : Thanks for clarifying!

: Oh, but it *is* a soft 'g'. At least this is how I've always heard it. I'm not sure why, but that's how it's pronounced.

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day (January 2, 2001) gives both:
argy-bargy /ahr-jee-BAHR-jee or ahr-ghee-BAHR-ghee/ (noun)
: a lively discussion : argument, dispute
Example sentence:
In the corner of the pub, Ted and Donnie were caught up in a beauty of an argy-bargy over the football game, each man arguing his point with gusto.
Did you know?
"Argy-bargy" and its slightly older variant "argle-bargle" have been a part of British English since the second half of the 19th century. "Argy" and "argle" evolved in certain English and Scottish dialects as variant forms of "argue." As far as we can tell, "bargy" and "bargle" never existed as independent words; they only came to life with the compounds as singsong doublings of "argy" and "argle."
argie [g- as in 'get'] verb argue, especially contentiously.
argie-bargie noun a quarrel, haggling. verb dispute, haggle.
From _The Pocket Scots Dictionary_ .