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

This push for litigation marks the latest twist in a citywide debate about whether—and how—to change the admissions system for prestigious high schools that determine entry by a single test score. Leslie Brody, WSJ, "Parents to Sue City Over Elite High-School Admissions," 13 Nov. 2018 One collection of ibises played a role in the early debate about evolution. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Cats, beetles, other mummified animals found—along with a sealed door," 12 Nov. 2018 To researchers, the popularity of the Moral Machine shows that people across the globe are eager to participate in the debate around self-driving cars and want to see algorithms that reflect their personal beliefs. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Out of Two Million People, Most Prefer That a Self-Driving Car Kill the Elderly," 25 Oct. 2018 Phil and Claire and Mitchell and Cam's houses still seem deadlocked in the debate for second place, but there's no arguing which house, overall, reigns supreme: Jay and Gloria Pritchett's contemporary, California-cool abode (option C). Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "People Are Seriously Divided Over Which Modern Family House Is Best," 26 Sep. 2018 In the seven months since a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left 17 people dead, Fred Guttenberg, the father of Parkland victim Jaime Guttenberg, has been a leading voice in the gun control debate. Jenny Hollander, Marie Claire, "Fred Guttenberg Says Brett Kavanaugh Snubbed Him at SCOTUS Hearing," 4 Sep. 2018 Trump engaged in a running Twitter debate with the mayor of San Juan - Carmen Yulín Cruz - who was furious at the slow disaster response. Arelis R. Hernandez And Joel Achenbach, chicagotribune.com, "Failure of imagination hindered federal response to hurricanes that devastated Puerto Rico," 14 July 2018 Accountability remains a core driver in the national debate. James Stavridis, Time, "Democracy Isn't Perfect, But It Will Still Prevail," 12 July 2018 Similarly here in a way that the Brexit debate has split the country. Fox News, "UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on NATO, Russia and Brexit," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Lawmakers have been debating for a while the idea of creating a new organization focused solely on military space. Verge Staff, The Verge, "What the new Congress means for space, self-driving cars, and regulating Facebook," 7 Nov. 2018 Other senior executives, including Andrew Bosworth, and employees questioned why Facebook employees were spending so much time debating issues out of their control, such as the Supreme Court nomination process. Deepa Seetharaman, WSJ, "Facebook’s Zuckerberg Tells Employees to Respect Diverse Views of Colleagues," 5 Oct. 2018 For decades, experts have been debating the reasons why the shark species died out. Fox News, "Megalodon: Terrifying facts about this prehistoric monster," 9 Aug. 2018 The townspeople of Long Grove, Illinois in suburban Chicago spent years debating whether to save or demolish the old one-lane covered bridge that spanned Buffalo Creek. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "Town tried to protect old bridge with a landmark status. Then this truck came along," 29 June 2018 There is no defined category for technology addiction, but psychiatrists have been debating whether internet addiction is a real malady. Vivek Wadhwa And Alex Salkever, WIRED, "How Can We Make Technology Healthier for Humans?," 26 June 2018 However, our goal has been to spend less time debating the extent that gender bias exists, and more time identifying solutions to help rectify it. Jane Wooldridge, miamiherald, "Following wave of suicides, Florida Bar president put mental health on the docket," 9 June 2018 Party leaders have been debating which approach to emphasize since shortly after Trump's election. NBC News, "Turning up the heat on Trump: Dems say 'culture of corruption' to be focus of midterms," 21 May 2018 The House has been debating its own legislation and might prefer to advance a bill of its own devising. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "The Senate Votes Against the Net-Neutrality Rollback," 16 May 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

19 Nov 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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