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

Whether Disney's sexist storytelling is rooted in a lack of female creators or an unwavering commitment to the aforementioned shortcut is up for debate. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Why Does Disney Hate Mothers So Much?," 28 Mar. 2019 Although the existence of an association is still up for debate, some researchers believe that the connection lies, at least in part, in a lack of sleep. Kristin Auble, SELF, "9 Facts to Know About Restless Legs Syndrome," 16 Mar. 2019 Now, whether that's true or just feeding into the Twitter excitement is up for debate, but Sarah was definitely ALL IN for it. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Sarah Hyland Thinks Khloé Kardashian Should Be the Next Bachelorette," 21 Feb. 2019 The series of town-hall meetings held in villages and cities across France are an attempt by Mr. Macron to provide a more orderly forum for public debate than boulevards filled with tear gas and antiriot police. Stacy Meichtry, WSJ, "Macron’s Tumble Tells a Larger Story," 21 Jan. 2019 Whether or not your privacy can be preserved in the future while shopping for paper towels is up for debate. Stefan Etienne, The Verge, "Walmart secured a patent to eavesdrop on shoppers and employees," 21 Dec. 2018 There’s plenty of room for debate as to whether the Fed is on the right track here. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Trump makes last-ditch effort to pressure the Fed ahead of interest rate meeting," 18 Dec. 2018 In this state, reproductive health and freedom are not up for debate. Iman Hariri-kia, Teen Vogue, "Meet Will Haskell, the 22-Year-Old Who Beat a Republican Who Had Been in Office as Long as He’s Been Alive," 14 Nov. 2018 But the report is unlikely to quell the political debate in Congress and elsewhere over whether President Trump improperly sought to thwart the Russia investigation. Jacob Gershman, WSJ, "The Law Behind Mueller’s Findings on Obstruction, Collusion," 18 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Once these followers begin seeing the totality of the person, that genius becomes questionable, oftentimes debated by those who require another genius for their own learning. George Johnson, The Root, "Black Genius: A Privilege Afforded Only to Straight Black Men," 9 May 2018 But Josh’s invitation to debate him stands, anytime anywhere. Milton J. Valencia, BostonGlobe.com, "Was that really a debate? Zakim and Galvin spar over whether they’ve sparred," 12 July 2018 Late in the campaign, Segal, Manning and a third Democratic challenger — Baltimore businessman Rikki Vaughn — joined together to call on Cardin to debate them. Jeff Barker, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland's Ben Cardin earns Democrats' nod for another run at Senate seat," 27 June 2018 Read More Donna Shalala's foes finally got to debate her. David Smiley, miamiherald, "Bruising Democratic primary looms in race to replace Ros-Lehtinen | Miami Herald," 22 May 2018 Fans quickly called out coach Adam Levine's outfit, with some feeling his bright attire while others debated his fashion risk. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "'The Voice' Coach Adam Levine Divided Fans With His Bold Battle Rounds Outfit," 31 Mar. 2019 Even as Venezuela’s political stalemate drags on, the country’s options for the potential restructuring of more than $175 billion in foreign debt are coming into focus as lawyers, academics and government officials debate the proper approach. Andrew Scurria, WSJ, "Venezuela Restructuring Options Emerge Among Creditors, Officials," 29 Mar. 2019 Bird Box is being hailed a major movie moment for Netflix (even as film industry insiders debate the significance of the company’s selectively released ratings data). Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "The Hype Over Netflix’s Bird Box, Explained," 2 Jan. 2019 Tusk delivered the ultimatum as the United Kingdom debates the Brexit deal ahead of a vote in the UK Parliament next week. Jen Kirby, Vox, "EU to UK: take the Brexit deal or else," 30 Nov. 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

7 May 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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