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

Viewership for that debate was previously estimated at 15.8 million. Jaclyn Gallucci, Fortune, "Round 2 of Democratic Debate Is Party's Most-Watched Ever," 29 June 2019 The total viewership figure for the second debate across the three networks will be made available later in the day. Will Thorne, chicagotribune.com, "Ratings for second Democratic debate top first," 28 June 2019 Of course, this sort of list leaves plenty of room for debate and there are guaranteed to be plenty of classics which have been missed out - but there's only room for 50 to make the cut. SI.com, "50 Greatest Football Shirts of All Time," 28 June 2019 The level of diversity on display on the debate stage was unprecedented for a major political party in the United States. Steve Peoples, Twin Cities, "Rivals target Biden as Democrats’ rifts emerge on age, race," 28 June 2019 Two candidates who didn’t qualify for the debates tried to create alternative programming. Tarini Parti And Eliza Collins, WSJ, "Offstage in Miami, Democratic Candidates Search for Spotlight," 27 June 2019 More specifically, both men will need to increase their poll numbers or donor base to qualify for the third debate. Nic Garcia, The Denver Post, "Democratic presidential debate: John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet start with digs at Bernie Sanders," 27 June 2019 While some candidates had long planned to visit the detention facility during their trip to Miami for the debate, Warren's announcement seemingly set off a wave of announced visits. Rosa Flores, CNN, "Inside a Florida migrant facility that's become a stop for presidential candidates," 27 June 2019 To be fair, that argument is also at the core of Inslee’s push for a climate debate. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "The Debates Will Be About Climate—Disguised as Other Issues," 26 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

While the exchange quickly became the most-talked-about moment from the two days of debating, Trump didn't appear impressed. David Jackson, USA TODAY, "Trump says Kamala Harris was given 'too much credit' for debate performance against Biden," 29 June 2019 Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris of California debate racial issues, as Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent, of Vermont listens during the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate in Miami Thursday. Gerald F. Seib, WSJ, "Democratic Debates Sorted the Field, But Did They Persuade Voters?," 28 June 2019 Parachuting 20 presidential candidates into one place for two days of debating turns the city into something like a mini-convention. Washington Post, "Biden’s spin doctors, Beto’s flop, a sea of sweat: The madness after the Miami debates.," 28 June 2019 The bracing attack by Harris proved to be the most dramatic moment of either of the two nights of debating among the 20 candidates who qualified under Democratic National Committee rules to be on the stage in the Adrienne Arsht Center. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Billed as Biden-Sanders showdown, other candidates drive debate," 27 June 2019 Recent presidential history is pocked with examples of male candidates flubbing the task of debating beside a woman. Matt Flegenheimer, New York Times, "Klobuchar Reminds the Men Onstage: Women Know Something About Abortion, Too," 26 June 2019 This proposal allows us to begin the process of debating the merits of recording council meetings. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "Video cameras coming to Katy City Council?," 24 June 2019 The savings provided by reusability, versus the expendable rockets used by competitors such as United Launch Alliance or Arianespace, remains unknown and hotly debated within the industry. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, "Elon Musk is building a fleet of reusable rockets," 24 June 2019 The benefits of stem cells are hotly debated in the medical community, and federal regulators have warned the public to beware of clinics that peddle unapproved injections as a cure-all. Time, "Employers Are Steering Workers Toward Controversial Stem Cell Therapies," 19 June 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

2 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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