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 : 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
b law and government : the formal discussion of a motion (see motion entry 1 sense 3a) before a deliberative body according to the rules of parliamentary procedure

debate

verb
debated; debating

Definition of debate (Entry 2 of 2)

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

intransitive verb

1 : to participate in a debate the six primary candidates who debated last night
2a : to contend in words
b : to discuss a question by considering opposed arguments
3 obsolete : fight, contend

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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 Since its passage in 2004, the constitutionality of the law has been a topic of debate among those in heroin treatment circles, including some who are tasked with enforcing the law. Sarah Haselhorst, The Enquirer, "Kentucky's Casey's Law, involuntary treatment for the addicted, is challenged as unconstitutional," 1 July 2020 The key escrow proposal withered away after several years of heated debate, but the idea has persisted and has cropped up again recently. Whitfield Diffie, Scientific American, "The Encryption Wars Are Back, but in Disguise," 30 June 2020 Ziegler offers a cleareyed view of interest groups on both sides of the debate, detailing the frequent internecine fights over legal strategy. Seth Stern, The Christian Science Monitor, "Fifty years of legal skirmishes have deepened the divide over Roe v. Wade," 29 June 2020 Confederate monuments have been the subject of debate since they were erected, but the argument has grown louder since George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis. Joseph Hoyt, Dallas News, "Call for removal of Confederate statues sparks debates in North Texas communities," 29 June 2020 Even those on the opposite side of the issue also hugged as an emotional day of debate drew to a close. Emily Wagster Pettus, Anchorage Daily News, "Mississippi lawmakers vote to remove rebel emblem from flag," 28 June 2020 Confederate monuments have been the subject of nationwide debate, particularly since Dylan Roof killed nine African Americans in a South Carolina church in 2015. Rebekah Riess And Jason Hanna, CNN, "6 arrested at Robert E. Lee monument in Richmond, where police say protesters fired paintballs at officers," 27 June 2020 The political calculations of the debate are playing out all over the country, and evident in public polling. Aamer Madhani, Fortune, "The real reason many Americans aren’t sure if they need to wear a mask," 27 June 2020 While not considered legal documents, these waivers have raised concerns over student rights at a time when issues such as name, image and likeness have become part of the national debate. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Amid coronavirus threat, colleges take aim at football culture of hiding injuries, illness," 25 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Even as some Silicon Valley giants debate whether to wade deeper into military contracting, Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos has said Amazon is committed to supplying technologies to U.S. government clients. Matt Day, Bloomberg.com, "Amazon Cloud Group Targets Space, Government Deals With New Unit," 1 July 2020 The senators are aiming to get the amendments included in the National Defense Authorization Act, a defense policy bill that the Senate will debate next week. Fox News, "Bipartisan group of senators introduce bill to rein in Trump's ability to scale down troops in Germany," 29 June 2020 Mobile city officials plan to debate and could vote on a mask ordinance during its Tuesday meeting. al, "‘Worst fears’: Mobile County grapples with rising COVID-19 cases," 29 June 2020 Mississippi legislators are expected to debate the future of the state’s flag Sunday after taking the first steps Saturday to replace its current Confederate-themed design. Brittany Shammas, Washington Post, "Mississippi legislators expected to debate removal of Confederate icon from state flag," 28 June 2020 Officials debate how to do so safely While L.A. County continues to ban gatherings beyond protests or religious services, the Bay Area is beginning to allow small group meet-ups. Colleen Shalby, Los Angeles Times, "Santa Cruz County lifts beach closures: ‘People are not willing to be governed’," 25 June 2020 The University of Michigan doesn't debate that in its response, but says the decision on how to deliver instructions rests solely on the shoulders of the university and courts need to stay out of it. David Jesse, USA TODAY, "We don't owe students refund for switching to online instruction, University of Michigan says," 25 June 2020 The House is set to debate and vote on the bill later in the day. Grace Segers, CBS News, "House poised to approve Democratic police reform bill," 25 June 2020 Still, there are only so many topics to debate in an NBA locker room, and at least this one wasn’t boring. Mike Finger, ExpressNews.com, "Davis Bertans makes a choice; will others follow?," 23 June 2020

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 3

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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Time Traveler for debate

Time Traveler

The first known use of debate was in the 13th century

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Statistics for debate

Last Updated

3 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Debate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/debate. Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for debate

debate

noun
How to pronounce debate (audio)

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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Comments on debate

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