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 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 How to pronounce debatement (audio) \ 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 party remains in a seemingly endless debate over how much to favor some demographic groups of American voters—and how much to punish others. James Freeman, WSJ, "Who’s Deplorable Now?," 25 Feb. 2019 Trump hit an all-time low of 16 for analytic speech in a December 2015 debate. Seth Borenstein, The Seattle Times, "Trump’s speech: Less analytical, more sure than predecessors," 13 Feb. 2019 In one 2014 primary debate for a Senate seat, Whitaker supported a law that allowed medical cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of cannabis, but there were also doubts about the federal government not enforcing the ban on the substance. Angela Chen, The Verge, "Marijuana advocates celebrate after Jeff Sessions is ousted," 8 Nov. 2018 The question is not if, but how and when women in America will fully build the political power necessary to ensure that the issues that keep us up at night are not dismissed or marginalized, but front and center in the national debate. Cecile Richards, Glamour, "Five Activists Criss-Crossed the Country to Hear from Women. Here's What They Learned.," 6 Nov. 2018 While Obama and President George W. Bush had a more formal approach to discussions with lawmakers, President Bill Clinton was known for calling members of Congress, sometimes late at night, to discuss policy debates. Seung-min Kim, The Seattle Times, "‘He just picks up’: Trump and the lawmakers he loves to talk to on the phone," 20 Feb. 2019 After some debate, Leopold was offered the crown in 1831, and though he had been offered and refused the throne of the newly independent Greece just a year earlier, Leopold accepted, becoming the first king of Belgium. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Who Was Queen Victoria's Uncle, King Leopold I of Belgium?," 18 Feb. 2019 While the current border debate centers on immigration, this story highlighted the shrewdness of smugglers and the customs agents hunting them. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Rewind: What Guarding Uncle Sam's Borders Was Like in 1925," 11 Feb. 2019 The Schröder and Storm paper is part of a debate forum hosted by the Institute for New Economic Thinking. David Roberts, Vox, "The case for “conditional optimism” on climate change," 29 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Many civil libertarians thought so when hate-crime laws were being debated, though not all were able to maintain the courage of their convictions. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Are Hate-Crime Laws Helping?," 22 Feb. 2019 The success of the halftime show is often fervently debated. Megan Stein, Country Living, "How Many Super Bowls Has Tom Brady Won?," 3 Feb. 2019 The White House has also threatened to veto any such bill that curtails Saudi support, and the administration has pressured senators to vote against the resolution being debated Wednesday, according to the Wall Street Journal. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Senate debates resolution to end US support for war in Yemen," 13 Dec. 2018 And although most of our respondents recognised the potential problems with the use of pictures of people, the dilemma of how to best to handle them is not being publicly debated. Rogelio Luque-lora, Bill Adams, Ars Technica, "Camera traps designed for animals are now invading human privacy," 24 Nov. 2018 Tesla’s Gigafactory deal, which could be worth $1.3 billion over 20 years, was debated during a special legislative session that lasted a few days. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Amazon HQ2 subsidies are deeply unpopular, but far from uncommon," 14 Nov. 2018 The tiers are highly debated, but basically a micro-influencer is really anyone who doesn’t have an agent or representation yet. Ashley Carman, The Verge, "Who’s your Instagram boyfriend?," 14 Nov. 2018 In speeches and close to 350 meetings on the assembly sideline, the conflicts, hotspots and issues contributing to that turbulence will be debated. Fox News, "UN to caution against populism in high-level week," 25 Sep. 2018 Below, a snapshot into my mind the mind of every person who's ever debated throwing out every single one of their earthly possessions. The Editors Of House Beautiful, House Beautiful, "13 Thoughts Everyone Has Had While Cleaning Out Her Closet," 29 Aug. 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

Verb and Noun

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

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Statistics for debate

Last Updated

12 Mar 2019

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 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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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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