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 The bill under debate would expand the pass requirement to all restaurants and bars in France and some other venues. BostonGlobe.com, 25 July 2021 The debate now consuming Adeyo’s town is fought almost nightly around his kitchen table. Hannah Natanson, Anchorage Daily News, 25 July 2021 Let the debate begin. Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 25 July 2021 The bill under debate would expand the pass requirement to all restaurants and bars in France and some other venues. Fox News, 25 July 2021 By early 2021, the debate shifted to reopening campuses for all. Los Angeles Times, 25 July 2021 But growing concern about a sharp rise in murders and shootings across the country last year is also threaded through the national debate about law enforcement and criminal justice. Susan Page, USA TODAY, 25 July 2021 Their answers suggest that the mandates or greater restrictions on the unvaccinated that are increasingly a matter of debate by employers and government officials could make a significant difference. Julie Bosman, New York Times, 25 July 2021 From testing to reopening and vaccine distribution, Levine helped to set the debate and shape the public’s understanding of the pandemic. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, 24 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb How much the crypto explosion has helped Rockdale’s economy is open to debate. Washington Post, 8 July 2021 Granted, this is open to debate, but the Bruins, even in the hours following their most recent loss, have the most identifiable roster among the town’s four major sports. BostonGlobe.com, 12 June 2021 First, legal precedent appears to be on the side of colleges’ ability to impose such mandates, although that question is still open to debate. Michael T. Nietzel, Forbes, 20 Apr. 2021 The merits of Hawley's positions are open to debate. Samuel Goldman, Star Tribune, 31 Mar. 2021 Just how popular social audio will become is still open to debate. NBC News, 26 Feb. 2021 In a series of emails to Hunt executives, Col. Victor Beeler, 60th Mission Support Group commander at Travis, suggested the matter is not open to debate. J.k. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 Feb. 2021 Whether such hoopla counts as a happy ending or as a reckless lie—whether the kids should be granted their fun, or whether the next generation of inebriates is already in training for its own destruction—is open to debate. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 11 Dec. 2020 How many of them turned up at the polls later is open to debate. Michael Wines, New York Times, 14 Nov. 2020

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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Learn More About debate

Time Traveler for debate

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near debate

debatable

debate

debatingly

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Statistics for debate

Last Updated

28 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Debate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/debate. Accessed 31 Jul. 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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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