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

The idea, which the architect announced on Instagram, has sparked a vigorous debate on the nature of restoration and the role that architecture plays as society and technology evolves. Ingrid Abramovitch, ELLE Decor, "Architect Responds to Controversy Over His Proposal to Top Notre-Dame with a Glass Roof," 14 May 2019 Scientists could help settle the debate by determining what the moon is actually made of and whether its composition matches that of Mars. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Takes Groundbreaking Photos of Mars' Weirdest Moon," 13 May 2019 The truth is that this debate has already been decided by the American people. Ilyse Hogue, Glamour, "Attention Corporate America, Women Need to Know That You Support Their Reproductive Rights," 23 Apr. 2019 More often he can be found taking needlessly contrarian positions in inter-office car debates. Alexander Stoklosa, Car and Driver, "Alexander Stoklosa," 15 May 2019 The post actually sparked an even bigger debate: clasp and swivel vs. hooking in the back. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Don't Panic, But You've Been Wearing Your Bra Wrong Your Entire Life," 25 Apr. 2019 But with its tremendous growth has come intense debate, particularly among members of the trans community whose beliefs about passing are varied and fraught. Serena Daniari, Allure, "The Complicated Process of Undergoing Facial-Feminization Surgery, and Why I Did It," 23 Mar. 2019 The debate about how to handle the wild boars comes as the city of more than 7 million people is being festooned with pig-themed decorations in preparation for the Lunar New Year holiday that officially begins Tuesday. Alice Fung, The Seattle Times, "In year of the pig, Hong Kong has had enough of wild ones," 6 Feb. 2019 This story appears in VoxCare, a newsletter from Vox on the latest twists and turns in America’s health care debate. Sarah Kliff, Vox, "Is the new Obamacare lawsuit headed to the Supreme Court?," 17 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

On social media, critics and architecture enthusiasts have already taken to debating how the renovations should look. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Notre Dame: An In-Depth Look at What Was Lost and What it Will Take to Rebuild," 16 Apr. 2019 This announcement comes at a time when emotional support animals are rampant and hotly debated. Aditi Shrikant, Vox, "Delta is now restricting emotional support animals on flights. This could be a good thing.," 11 Dec. 2018 There are few beauty products as hotly debated as waterproof mascara. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Why Lancôme’s Game-Changing Monsieur Big Waterproof Mascara Is Trending on Pinterest," 22 July 2018 His nomination is not an interesting intellectual exercise to be debated amongst classmates and scholars in seminar. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "Yale Law Students and Alumni Denounce School's Support of Brett Kavanaugh," 11 July 2018 But as the nation continues to debate reversing certain censorship policies, Maedeh and her cohorts are still paying the price. Iman Hariri-kia, Teen Vogue, "How Social Media in Iran Is Used as a Tool for Protest," 11 July 2018 Although the reasons can be debated, there's no doubt boys tend toward more aggressive play than girls. Emily Edlynn, Good Housekeeping, "Is It Okay for Boys to Play With Toy Guns, or Will It Make Them Violent?," 29 Apr. 2019 But there are plenty of questions to explore in the meantime that have been debated by geoscientists for years. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "Seismologists Discover Mountain Ranges 410 Miles Below Earth’s Surface," 19 Feb. 2019 Clueless This one is indisputably one of the best movies of the last few decades, but its status as a rom-com has been intensely debated in our office. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Quiz: Are These Popular Movies Technically Romantic Comedies?," 11 Feb. 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

4 Jun 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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