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

In a lightning round of random questions at the end of Thursday night’s Republican debate at Mohegan Sun, conservative radio moderator Lee Elci posed the query. Daniela Altimari, courant.com, "Politics and the Price of Milk," 14 July 2018 At its worst, putting identity first can become a way to close down debates that Democrats need to have. The Economist, "What’s left?To win back power, Democrats must do things that make them uncomfortable," 14 July 2018 The area remains the busiest transit corridor along the U.S.-Mexico border and, as a result, has been at the forefront of the family-separation debate. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "Rights group claims family separations continue at border, despite Trump's executive order," 13 July 2018 The debate has divided the small community, and on Friday, the school board heard passionate pleas from both sides. Mike Schell, Cincinnati.com, "Debate regarding armed teachers, staff rages on in Madison Township," 13 July 2018 Amendment 8 was one of the most controversial and prompted much debate on charter schools. Leslie Postal, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Lawsuit seeks to block proposed constitutional Amendment 8 from ballot," 13 July 2018 Yet the global structure of soccer also hinges on individual star power and the argument over who is the best player on the planet is one that has attracted heated debate for the past decade. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "After World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi may lose best player tags," 13 July 2018 Controversy over departure also has defined much of the nation’s political debate and discussion for two years. Arthur I. Cyr, Lake County News-Sun, "Cyr: Britain’s prime minister takes charge of cabinet," 13 July 2018 Dunleavy, the first to contest Walker, criticized the governor’s climate change task force at a debate last month. Kelsey Brugger, Scientific American, "Alaska Wants to Fight Warming While Still Drilling for Oil," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Researchers have long debated whether humans have an upper age limit. Elie Dolgin, Scientific American, "There's No Limit to Longevity, Says Study Reviving Human Life Span Debate," 1 July 2018 Residents of Evanston, a town of 12,000 in southwest Wyoming, have been fiercely debating for weeks a proposal by the private prison operator Management Training Corporation to build an ICE detention center near the community. Simon Romero, New York Times, "All Over U.S., Local Officials Cancel Deals to Detain Immigrants," 28 June 2018 Others have debated whether to let go, move farther inland and allow Mother Ocean to have her way. Rosanna Xia, latimes.com, "Southern California's coastal communities could lose 130 feet of cliffs this century as sea levels rise," 27 June 2018 Aside from how alcohol can impair behavior and judgment, scientists have long debated if drinking various amounts can truly translate into a specific health benefit. CBS News, "Health officials to end industry-funded study of alcohol’s possible health benefits," 15 June 2018 City officials have debated how to proceed with the possibility of marijuana legalization since September. Deborah Sullivan Brennan, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Vista approves city-sponsored pot measures for November ballot," 14 June 2018 Korea-watchers have long debated whether the Kim regime sees nuclear weapons as vital to its survival, or rather as useful leverage over the outside world. The Economist, "Talks between America and North Korea might succeed—at a terrible price," 7 June 2018 But experts in the medical community have long debated whether the equations are based on outdated data and may be putting patients at risk. Fiza Pirani, ajc, "More than 11 million Americans prescribed wrong dose of common drugs, scientists say," 6 June 2018 Since the massacre in Charleston church shooting, local and national leaders across the US have debated whether Confederate symbols primarily honor the past or perpetuate harmful beliefs. Doug Criss And Elizabeth Elkin, CNN, "The state leading the way in removing Confederate monuments? Texas," 5 June 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

Noun

see debate entry 2

Verb

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

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Statistics for debate

Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

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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