''Lose your argument'' in American English

Xavier da Silva

Senior Member
Hello everyone,

Considering the contexts below:

''The second you lose your temper like that, is the second you lose your argument.'' [forums.digitalspy.co.uk]
''Once you resort to violence, you then lose your argument.'' [uk.answers.yahoo.com]
''Pop always told us kids, "Once you lose your temper, you lose your argument." [illinoisancestors.org]


Can "lose your argument" be idiomatically used in American English meaning "lose your legitimacy", "not have your argument accepted even though it is correct'' ?


Thank you in advance!
 
  • pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    I'm not so sure it means those things specifically, Xavier; it just means "be defeated in the argument you are having." It could be used whether or not your argument should prevail.

    That said, the phrase sounds like perfect American English in all of your examples.
     

    Xavier da Silva

    Senior Member
    Thank you very much.

    I'm not so sure it means those things specifically, Xavier; it just means "be defeated in the argument you are having." It could be used whether or not your argument should prevail.
    The detail I'm trying to figure out is: "lose your argument" can mean "be defeated in the argument you are having" not because your argument is unreasonable, worse, but because of your bad behavior (violence, etc) (in American English)?

    Thank you in advance!
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    I would say - in these contexts - it means "lose your argument regardless of how reasonable or unreasonable your side is, because of your behavior."

    We're kind of switching back and forth between two meanings of the word "argument" in this discussion - I'm sure you realize this, Xavier, but for the benefit of other readers - "argument" can mean "dispute" or it can mean "statements in support of something."

    So I'm saying it means "be defeated in your dispute, regardless of the validity of your statements supporting your side."
     
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