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 debate (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 Geologists proved the existence of a tectonic plate, long subject to debate, known as Resurrection. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harpers Magazine, "Findings," 5 Jan. 2021 The debate over free speech on campus concerns the central value of a university. Adam Hoffman, National Review, "The New Strategy to Suppress Conservative Voices on Campus," 4 Jan. 2021 The debate about who should receive the vaccine early on, after health care workers, has grown increasingly urgent as case numbers have swelled to numbers unimaginable even a month ago. Chronicle Staff, SFChronicle.com, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: Dec. 17-23," 1 Jan. 2021 The move will force a vote in both the Senate and House following a floor debate, which some Republican lawmakers are keen to avoid. Aric Jenkins, Fortune, "Why Sen. Hawley’s objection matters—even if he can’t stop Biden from being President," 30 Dec. 2020 And there had been much speculation about who the prize would actually go to, since credit for the creation story of Crispr is still a matter of hot debate (and litigation). Megan Molteni, Wired, "2020 Was a Breakout Year for Crispr," 28 Dec. 2020 Second presidential debate canceled after Trump refuses to participate in virtual format. USA Today, "The year that was: A global pandemic, racial protests, a president-elect. Oh, and impeachment.," 28 Dec. 2020 Last year, this was strongly illustrated when the photographs on the Queen’s desk sparked a debate about the future of the monarchy, specifically Harry and Meghan’s role within it. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "All The Spoken And Unspoken Messages in Queen Elizabeth's Christmas Day Broadcast," 27 Dec. 2020 There’s a short, obligatory debate over who was snoring the loudest and who was stumbling around the kitchen at 3 A.M. Dave Hurteau, Field & Stream, "F&S Classics: A Day in Deer Camp," 25 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Two hours is not enough time to present and debate evidence, and both houses must operate on the same set of facts. John Fund, National Review, "Wednesday’s Electoral College Debate: All Eyes on Pence," 3 Jan. 2021 The law could still pass, though that appears less likely because the Lower House won’t debate the bill on Monday, according to a copy of its agenda seen by Bloomberg News. Matthew Bristow, Bloomberg.com, "Mexico Central Bank Wins Respite on Law It’s Trying to Block," 13 Dec. 2020 An objection has only been successfully brought to debate twice, after the 1968 and 2004 elections, and both were voted down, according to Harrow. Audrey Mcnamara, CBS News, "Electoral College is last long-shot chance for Trump allies to challenge election results," 10 Dec. 2020 The analysis by Food and Drug Administration scientists comes ahead of a Thursday meeting where the agency's independent advisers will debate if the evidence is strong enough to recommend vaccinating millions of Americans. Lauran Neergaard And Matthew Perrone, Star Tribune, "Pfizer vaccine moves closer to getting the OK in the US," 8 Dec. 2020 Congressional leaders trying to resolve lingering policy disagreements in an approximately $900 billion coronavirus relief package, may debate into the weekend, the Washington Post reports. Chronicle Staff, SFChronicle.com, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: Dec. 17-23," 1 Jan. 2021 And then there are those who have vanished from public life, no longer able to walk these streets, demonstrate in front of government officers, debate in the legislature or simply enjoy a cup of iced milk tea. Washington Post, "Six portraits from a year defined by loss," 30 Dec. 2020 The House and the Senate then separate and debate the challenge for up to two hours. Amber Phillips, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump allies in Congress will launch one more challenge to Biden’s win," 30 Dec. 2020 Nihar Duvvuri started Project SD, a nonprofit that creates and funds debate clubs at schools in low-income areas. Marella Gayla, The New Yorker, "Is Every Ambitious Teen-ager a “Founder and C.E.O.”?," 28 Dec. 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

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Debate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/debate. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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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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