debate

noun
de·​bate | \ di-ˈbāt, dē-\

Definition of debate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a contention by words or arguments Our polite chat about politics became a heated debate. The case sparked a raging public debate on property rights. : such as
a law, government : the formal discussion of a motion (see motion entry 1 sense 3a) before a deliberative body according to the rules of parliamentary procedure
b : a regulated discussion of a proposition (see proposition entry 1 sense 1b) between two matched sides the last presidential debate before the election the debate's moderator

debate

verb
debated; debating

Definition of debate (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 obsolete : fight, contend
2a : to contend in words
b : to discuss a question by considering opposed arguments
3 : to participate in a debate the six primary candidates who debated last night

transitive verb

1a : to argue about the subject was hotly debated
b : to engage (an opponent) in debate a governor debating her challenger
2 : to turn over in one's mind : to think about (something, such as different options) in order to decide still debating what to do

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Other Words from debate

Verb

debatement \ -​ˈbāt-​mənt \ noun
debater noun

Choose the Right Synonym for debate

Verb

discuss, argue, debate mean to discourse about in order to reach conclusions or to convince. discuss implies a sifting of possibilities especially by presenting considerations pro and con. discussed the need for a new highway argue implies the offering of reasons or evidence in support of convictions already held. argued that the project would be too costly debate suggests formal or public argument between opposing parties debated the merits of the amendment ; it may also apply to deliberation with oneself. I'm debating whether I should go

Examples of debate in a Sentence

Noun

The candidates participated in several debates before the election was held. The meaning of the text has been the subject of considerable debate among scholars for many years.

Verb

Scholars have been debating the meaning of the text for years. Whether or not the tax cuts benefit the lower classes is still hotly debated among economists. The energy bill is currently being debated in Congress. The President debated his challenger in front of a live audience on Tuesday. The students debated for an hour.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Much of the post-game debate about Seattle’s loss centered on the team’s offensive play calling and whether the Seahawks should have passed more with the running game largely ineffective. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "As Seahawks head into offseason, futures of Frank Clark, Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner take center stage," 7 Jan. 2019 In the ensuing debate about whether this was realistic, one marine infantryman described carrying more than 200 lbs. during missions in Afghanistan. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "The Overloaded Soldier: Why U.S. Infantry Now Carry More Weight Than Ever," 26 Dec. 2018 But the findings may help with the ongoing debate about whether e-cigarettes are safer than cigarettes. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Is vaping better than smoking? Scientists studied pee to find out," 14 Dec. 2018 There’s quite an interesting debate about what causes the creaking noises coming from your body. Korin Miller, SELF, "Here’s What It Means If Your Knee Just Won’t Stop Popping," 23 Sep. 2018 In The Hate U Give, a film based on The New York Times best-selling novel, Stenberg plays a teen who witnesses her friend’s murder by a police officer—a role that gave her unique insight into the current national debate about gun control. Harper's BAZAAR, "Signs For Hope," 16 Aug. 2018 There's some debate about what, exactly, Lili meant. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "A Complete Timeline of Cole Sprouse and Lili Reinhart's Relationship," 30 July 2018 All this has amplified academia’s ongoing and intensifying debate about publishing ethics. Joe Karaganis, Washington Post, "Russia is building a new Napster — but for academic research," 13 July 2018 The matchup has sparked a debate about how much — and even whether — experience matters in politics: Glassman, 59, has had a 30-year career in public life while Hayes is making her first run for elective office. Daniela Altimari, courant.com, "From Public Housing To Running For Congress: African-American Women Find Their Voices In Jahana Hayes," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were both debated and then eventually signed in this building. Juliet Izon, Country Living, "7 Patriotic Sights to Take In on the Ultimate Philadelphia Road Trip," 15 Nov. 2018 This was debated in the House Energy and Commerce Committee as part of the 21st Century Cures legislation, but a section contained in an earlier draft of the bill was deleted. John Osborn, STAT, "FDA allows off-label health care economic discussions. Is there more to come?," 29 June 2018 In two days of debating and votes on Tuesday and Wednesday, the key questions are about what kind of vote Parliament gets on the final Brexit deal, and whether Britain should be trying to stay in a customs union. Fortune, "Watch Out: This Could Be the World Economy's Most Important Week of 2018," 11 June 2018 Another law, which would establish procedures governing the tribunal’s work, is still being debated in congress. The Economist, "Will Colombia’s next president imperil the peace deal with the FARC?," 26 May 2018 Council members debated the bill’s merits for hours at an April 23 session, with questions continuing about the potential health risks of mulching and composting versus farmers’ needs. Kate Magill, Columbia Flier, "County Council puts off votes on mulch, landlord regulations," 8 May 2018 But the mere fact that the Senate is openly debating US military support for the war in Yemen is a sign that the administration’s stance is coming under scrutiny, and that the devastating conflict in Yemen is capturing the attention of lawmakers. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Senate debates resolution to end US support for war in Yemen," 13 Dec. 2018 In the documents, executives can be seen responding to the threat of competitors, debating how to handle users’ data, and discussing major changes to its business model. Colin Lecher, The Verge, "Facebook fends off new anti-monopoly questions after UK email release," 5 Dec. 2018 For anyone debating which one to get, my subjective verdict is yes. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "Is the iPhone XS Max Too Big?," 21 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'debate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of debate

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for debate

Verb and Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French debatre, from de- + batre to beat, from Latin battuere

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Statistics for debate

Last Updated

15 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for debate

The first known use of debate was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for debate

debate

noun

English Language Learners Definition of debate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a discussion between people in which they express different opinions about something

debate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of debate (Entry 2 of 2)

: to discuss (something) with people whose opinions are different from your own

: to compete against (someone) in a debate : to argue against another person's opinions as part of an organized event

: to think about (something) in order to decide what to do

debate

noun
de·​bate | \ di-ˈbāt \

Kids Definition of debate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a discussion or argument carried on between two teams or sides
2 : a discussion of issues We had a debate over where to go on vacation.

debate

verb
debated; debating

Kids Definition of debate (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to discuss a question by giving arguments on both sides : take part in a debate
2 : to consider reasons for and against : give serious and careful thought to Mrs. Welsch seemed to be debating whether to say what she finally did.— Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy

Other Words from debate

debater noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on debate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with debate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for debate

Spanish Central: Translation of debate

Nglish: Translation of debate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of debate for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about debate

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