debate

noun
de·​bate | \ di-ˈbāt How to pronounce debate (audio) , 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 : 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
b law and government : the formal discussion of a motion (see motion entry 1 sense 3a) before a deliberative body according to the rules of parliamentary procedure

debate

verb
debated; debating

Definition of debate (Entry 2 of 2)

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

intransitive verb

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

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Other Words from debate

Verb

debatement \ di-​ˈbāt-​mənt How to pronounce debate (audio) , dē-​ \ 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 Following those deaths, safety had become a front-burner issue for the sport, with a debate over possible rules changes and the use of new safety equipment. Mike Harris, Star Tribune, "AP Was There: Earnhardt killed in 2001 Daytona 500 crash," 11 Feb. 2021 Sunday to early the following week: Senators' questions, a possible debate over witnesses and possibly a verdict. Nicholas Fandos, BostonGlobe.com, "Here’s how Trump’s second impeachment trial will unfold this week," 8 Feb. 2021 Former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial this week will start with a debate and vote on whether the proceeding violates the Constitution because Trump is no longer in office. Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner, "Trump impeachment trial will kick off with debate on constitutionality," 8 Feb. 2021 The farmers are demanding the repeal of the laws dismantling the old distribution system, which were pushed through parliament in September with little debate allowed. Eric Bellman, WSJ, "Violence Erupts at Indian Farmers’ Latest Protest Against Agricultural Law Changes," 26 Jan. 2021 The resolution drew debate and strong reactions from Assembly members and attendees. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage man arrested after sending death threats to Assembly member, charges say," 21 Jan. 2021 Rory Rhode, a member of the Chagrin Falls Middle School speech and debate team, took first place in Extemporaneous Debate at the Brecksville Tournament on Jan. 9. Ed Wittenberg, cleveland, "Chagrin Falls Schools students happy to be back in full-day, in-person learning," 21 Jan. 2021 Then, as now, there was bickering, debate and disagreement over the best path forward. Paul Delaney, USA TODAY, "'Where Do We Go from Here?' King's question amid the chaos of the '60s still resonates today," 18 Jan. 2021 During Wednesday's floor debate and vote, CNN was easily No. 1, with 3.8 million viewers in the afternoon, while the other networks each had 2.6 million viewers or fewer. Brian Stelter, CNN, "Analysis: TV news is realigning, with Fox's ratings sagging and CNN's soaring," 16 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Texas politicians and political groups sparred over power in politics Monday, seizing the opportunity to debate energy policy as power outages swept through the Lone Star State. Elizabeth Thompson, Dallas News, "Energy policy debates heat up for politicians as Texas freezes and power outages span the state," 15 Feb. 2021 There were 55 senators who voted to debate the motion to subpoena, including Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who changed his vote in the middle of the count. Chron, "The Latest: Enough senators vote not guilty to acquit Trump," 13 Feb. 2021 Democrats want the Senate floor available for confirming President Biden’s Cabinet nominees and to debate and pass his top legislative priority, a new round of Coronavirus aid worth $1.9 trillion. Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner, "Trump impeachment trial could wrap by Saturday," 11 Feb. 2021 The episode, which resonated beyond New Zealand’s borders, prompted a subcommittee led by Mallard on Wednesday evening to debate whether the hei-tiki constituted business attire and to consider abandoning the tie rule. Natasha Frost, BostonGlobe.com, "Ties no longer mandatory in New Zealand Parliament, after member objects," 10 Feb. 2021 On Tuesday, there would be debate up to four hours long on the constitutionality of the Senate trial, concluding with a simple majority vote, repeating a vote on the issue forced by GOP Senator Rand Paul a few weeks ago. Grace Segers, CBS News, "What to expect at Trump's second impeachment trial," 9 Feb. 2021 What’s more, a Trump trial will shut down other legislative business, so the sooner the curtain falls on Impeachment Redux, the sooner the Senate can return to confirming Joe Biden’s appointees and preparing to debate the Covid stimulus package. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Democrats Are Screwing Up Trump’s Impeachment Trial," 8 Feb. 2021 The country took the summer to debate civil rights yet again, but by August, the red suit was dry-cleaned and ready for its close-up at the MTV Video Music Awards. Zoe Haylock, Vulture, "After Super Bowl LV, the Weeknd’s Gotta Retire the Red Suit," 5 Feb. 2021 Minneapolis politics have drawn unprecedented scrutiny as city leaders and residents debate how to change policing in the wake of George Floyd's death and a dramatic uptick in violent crime. Liz Navratil, Star Tribune, "National money flowing into fight over Minneapolis Police Department," 3 Feb. 2021

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 3

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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Time Traveler for debate

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for debate

Last Updated

22 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Debate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/debate. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce debate (audio) \

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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