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 \ di-​ˈbāt-​mənt How to pronounce debatement (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

During budget debates this spring, Councilman Chris Ward of University Heights expressed frustration that the city hasn’t gotten any closer to the 6 percent goal during his nearly three years on the council. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego library funding policy more about ambitions than reality," 13 July 2019 The Courier-Journal hauled ice cream from the Comfy Cow, Graeter's and Louisville Cream, and put some Louisville newbies to a blindfold taste test to settle debate. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "Ale-8-One and Louisville Cream are teaming up for a Friday Freebie you can't resist," 12 July 2019 The Homestead shelter has already attracted visits from several Democratic presidential candidates who were in Miami last month for their party’s presidential debates. Ana Radelat, courant.com, "Rosa DeLauro to lead congressional group to Florida center for migrant children," 12 July 2019 More: Hilary Duff's Instagram reignites jewelry debate: Is piercing a baby's ears 'child abuse'? Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY, "Hilary Duff said it was 'a little isolating' being the first of her friends to have a baby," 12 July 2019 In defending her vote, Doherty also mentioned the ongoing debate about when and where guns are allowed in America. Dallas News, "'Shut up, I'm talking': How an Allen council meeting became a shouting match amid gun range debate," 12 July 2019 Following the Democratic debates two weeks ago, Kamala Harris has shot up in the polls and emerged as a frontrunner among the hopefuls planning to challenge Donald Trump in 2020. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "Kamala Harris Promises to Eliminate the Country's Rape-Kit Backlog If Elected," 12 July 2019 The internet flourishes when social media platforms allow for discourse and debate without fear of a tidal wave of liability. Casey Newton, The Verge, "The White House’s social media summit has an ulterior motive," 11 July 2019 This debate encompasses an extraordinarily broad range of ideas and viewpoints and generates a level of passion and intensity the likes of which have rarely been seen. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Trump’s Twitter blocks violate First Amendment rights, appeals court affirms," 9 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Mueller testimony would come as House Democrats are continuing probes of Mr. Trump and debating within the party whether to pursue impeachment hearings. Natalie Andrews, WSJ, "Timing of Robert Mueller’s Capitol Hill Hearing Is Uncertain," 12 July 2019 And on TikTok, teenagers are discussing and debating them. Louise Matsakis, WIRED, "On TikTok, Teens Meme the Safety App Ruining Their Summer," 12 July 2019 The raids have been planned and debated in the Department of Homeland Security for about a month. New York Times, "Trump Again Threatens ‘Major Operation’ Against Undocumented Migrants," 12 July 2019 Be willing to listen and be non-judgmental. Don't debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or whether feelings are good or bad. Howard Koplowitz | Hkoplowitz@al.com, al.com, "Ex-Madison County sheriff’s deputy who resigned over anti-gay comments hired as Owens Cross Roads officer," 9 July 2019 September debates could make a difference Buttigieg will have another chance to rise in the polls at the next round of debates, July 30-31 in Detroit, which will be similar to June’s debates with as many as 10 candidates per night. Chris Sikich, Indianapolis Star, "Donors love Pete Buttigieg. Voters aren't sure.," 9 July 2019 Harris defines herself as black, and debating that point is politically ignorant for anyone hoping to oust President Donald Trump. Gary Abernathy, Twin Cities, "Gary Abernathy: No one makes Trump as unsteady as Kamala Harris does," 7 July 2019 Miramontes said her teacher friends in Utah and other states debated about it on Facebook. Morgan Smith, latimes.com, "A new staple of schoolteacher training: Active shooter drills," 7 July 2019 Miramontes said her teacher friends in Utah and other states debated about it on Facebook. Morgan Smith, Anchorage Daily News, "Armed Utah teachers practice responding to school shootings," 6 July 2019

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

16 Jul 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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