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

President Trump’s immediate reaction, including tweeting about tariffs, addresses larger economic forces and policy debates, not the everyday issues soon to be faced be these communities. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "When towns lose a factory, what comes next?," 29 Nov. 2018 This story inadvertently triggered a daylong debate on Twitter after Frier, citing Facebook, reported that the company’s vaunted election war room had been shut down and replaced with a Friday-morning meeting. Casey Newton, The Verge, "The UK’s inquiry into fake news is focused on a long-dead bikini-finding app," 27 Nov. 2018 So Germany for us, which is sort of in the middle of GDPR debate, grew last quarter for us, 200% over Q3. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Netflix will get ads, predicts the Trade Desk CEO Jeff Green," 15 Nov. 2018 That’s the big bag debate of the season, with Louis Vuitton’s mini trunks leading the charge for box bags, while Marine Serre’ repping Team Sphere. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "The Top 10 Accessories Trends of Spring 2019," 16 Oct. 2018 The new German outreach campaign will see more than 1,000 events across the country over the coming year, including debates, musical performances, art exhibitions, soccer competitions and — of course — beer festivals. Fox News, "Germany seeks to woo Americans amid rocky Trump relationship," 3 Oct. 2018 There was turmoil, infighting, debate, fall outs on the inside all the way. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "Beth Ditto Responds to London Pride TERF Controversy With Inspiring Instagram Post: 'We Keep Trying'," 13 July 2018 After months of planning, public meetings and debate, Fort Bend ISD trustees appear poised to approve a November school bond election that could total as much as $1.7 billion. Kristi Nix, Houston Chronicle, "Fort Bend ISD officials propose $178 million technology package for not-yet-approved school bond election," 13 July 2018 But that should be the start of the debate, not its conclusion. The Economist, "How policy debates in Europe become untethered from reality," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The move comes as Sears’s uncertain future is being debated by some of the retailer’s creditors. Lillian Rizzo, WSJ, "Sears Proposes Bonus Package for Top Executives," 19 Nov. 2018 As the final days of the 2018 midterm election season play out, key issues like immigration, hateful rhetoric, the economy, and health care are all being debated fervently. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Sean Astin Is Supporting 2018 Midterm Candidates Like Renee Hoagenson Because They Care About the Environment," 2 Nov. 2018 Hits and misses from favorite designers are discussed and trends are debated. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "I Like It Like That! 11 Outfits That Will Be All Over Instagram This Spring," 19 Oct. 2018 The fact that the ocean conveyor belt mixes downward in the North Atlantic rather than the North Pacific, for example, is an interesting puzzle that has been debated. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Mad scientists flip the Earth’s spin in climate models, watch water go nuts," 17 Oct. 2018 The cases were filed in 2015 and 2016, although the issue of whether children should have guaranteed legal representation at the hearings has been debated for more than a decade. Christine Clarridge, The Seattle Times, "Washington Supreme Court rules kids don’t have a right to a lawyer in dependency hearings," 5 Oct. 2018 Even if Beaton’s approval stands up, the court actions could prove yet another speed bump for a massive project that has been debated for nearly a decade. Tim Logan, BostonGlobe.com, "Harbor Towers residents sue to stop Don Chiofaro’s 600-foot tower on garage site," 11 July 2018 Edwards noted that multiple bills are being debated in Congress designed to challenge and block the sale. Yaakov Lappin, Jewish Journal, "Turkey likely to get F-35 jets, despite Islamist pull," 11 July 2018 Like many laws and parts of the Constitution, the meaning of the 14th Amendment is still being debated 150 years later. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "Trump's Supreme Court Pick Puts Spotlight on Roe v. Wade on 150th Anniversary of the Amendment That Made the Case Possible," 9 July 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

3 Dec 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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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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