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, 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 Ongoing debate over fiscal issues, including what to do with the dividend, is expected to resume in January, during an election year for most legislators. Washington Post, "Alaska governor marks 1st year in office amid turmoil," 29 Nov. 2019 On a conference call after the debate, several of Ms. Harris’s donors were alarmed and urged the campaign to strike back at Ms. Gabbard more aggressively, two people on the call said. Jonathan Martin, New York Times, "How Kamala Harris’s Campaign Unraveled," 29 Nov. 2019 The candidates struck a strident tone in the debate last week, with several vowing to increase pressure on China over its human rights abuses in Xinjiang and the erosion of freedoms in Hong Kong. BostonGlobe.com, "Many in China hope Trump will be reelected: He’s ‘easy to read’ - The Boston Globe," 27 Nov. 2019 The statue continued to draw more and more protesters from both sides of the debate, leading to the stationing of campus safety officers outside the monument. Leah Asmelash, CNN, "UNC to give Silent Sam statue to Sons of Confederate Veterans," 27 Nov. 2019 Even the other political sketch, a recounting of the latest Democratic debate, was far better than the cold open, with the more reliable guest stars Woody Harrelson and Larry David dominating as Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Saturday Night Live Needs to Fix Its First 15 Minutes," 24 Nov. 2019 The debate over Fletcher versus Shakespeare has lingered for nearly two centuries. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "To AI, or Not To AI: Artificial Intelligence Helps Define Shakespeare," 23 Nov. 2019 Thatcher had a galvanising effect on the environmental debate, and in greening mainstream politics. The Economist, "Climate, freedom and denial: What “Green Thatcherism” teaches us today," 22 Nov. 2019 Hours before the top 10 Democratic White House candidates face off in the fifth round of their party’s presidential nomination debates, potential contender Mike Bloomberg filed to place his name on the ballot in Texas. Paul Steinhauser, Fox News, "Bloomberg files to place name on ballot in Texas," 22 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb State-level religious freedom laws debated in Arizona and Indiana sparked political clashes over their potential use against LGBTQ individuals. Washington Post, "Religious freedom law plays key role in migrant-aid case," 26 Nov. 2019 What children are capable of, and how they should be punished, is debated fiercely in the United States. Lynne Tillman, Harper's magazine, "Roy Meets World," 25 Nov. 2019 Why Alabama coach Nick Saban had his irreplaceable star in the game with the Tide holding a four-touchdown lead will be debated endlessly in the coming days. Kevin Cusick, Twin Cities, "The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 11: Last-minute moves," 17 Nov. 2019 His move to appoint Josh Gattis as the offensive coordinator was celebrated when it was made, criticized following U-M’s first loss of the season and debated in the weeks thereafter. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football's win over Michigan State proves the offseason mattered for both," 16 Nov. 2019 As lawmakers were debating in Parliament, thousands of protesters marched through central London to demand a second Brexit referendum -- an eventuality that now seems a lot less improbable in the light of Saturday's developments. Peter Wilkinson, CNN, "Johnson asked EU leaders for a Brexit delay. He also told them not to grant it," 19 Oct. 2019 San Diego State University’s proposed purchase terms for 132 acres of Mission Valley land will be dissected and debated in public at a City Council meeting scheduled for Nov. 4. Jennifer Van Grove, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Mission Valley stadium site negotiations will resume in two weeks," 18 Oct. 2019 Of the four contests the DNC has held, Tuesday’s ranked second-worst, just more than the 8.2 million who watched the Democrats debate from Detroit in July. cleveland, "Opioid settlement discussions are taking place today in Cleveland: The Flyover," 18 Oct. 2019 Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi recently unveiled her drug pricing proposal (HR 3, also known as the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019), which is being debated in key congressional committees this week. Stephen J. Ubl, STAT, "Pelosi’s drug pricing plan puts medical innovation at risk," 17 Oct. 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 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 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Debate.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/debates. Accessed 6 December 2019.

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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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