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

Three female candidates on one night, three female candidates the next — more than have ever been on the debate stage at once. Lisa Lerer, BostonGlobe.com, "Democratic debate lineups: Biden, Sanders on 2nd night, Warren on 1st," 14 June 2019 Three female candidates on one night, three female candidates the next — more than have ever been on the debate stage at once. New York Times, "The Democratic Debate Lineups Are Set. Here’s What to Expect.," 14 June 2019 One opponent of the amendment, however, questioned its wisdom during brief floor debate this morning. David Malakoff, Science | AAAS, "House Democrats move to block part of Trump’s fetal tissue policy," 13 June 2019 Instead, that commitment could be what keeps me off the debate stage at the end of the month. Steve Bullock, Fortune, "Steve Bullock: Keeping Me From the First Democratic Debate Shows We Haven’t Learned Our Lesson From 2016," 12 June 2019 Given how historically white and male this space has been, greater diversity among moderators on the debate stage is a priority advocacy groups including NARAL, Emily’s List, and Color of Change pushed for earlier this year. Li Zhou, Vox, "Activists see NBC’s Democratic debate moderators as a win for representation," 11 June 2019 And that’s the debate that is going on in the tech world at the moment and will continue to do so. James Hibberd, EW.com, "Black Mirror creator weighs in on social networks banning users for ‘hateful’ content," 5 June 2019 The immediate future of Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot is still up for debate as the France international prepares to become a free agent this summer. SI.com, "Transfer Rumours: Man Utd Bid for Fernandes, Arsenal Eye Double Deal, Everton in Rabiot Talks & More," 4 June 2019 While the volcano is definitely young, exactly how young remains up for debate. National Geographic, "Strange waves rippled around Earth. Now we may know why.," 21 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The candidates will be split into two groups of 10, with one group debating on June 26 and the other on June 27. Grace Segers, CBS News, "How the candidates in the first Democratic presidential debates will be divided," 14 June 2019 Scientists are still debating when and where dogs were domesticated, but there’s one thing most of them agree on: Early canines were working animals. David Grimm, Science | AAAS, "This diseased spine may hold clues to early dog-human relationship," 14 June 2019 Thousands of demonstrators gathered in the heart of the financial hub Wednesday, and some battled with riot police throughout the afternoon to prevent lawmakers from debating the bill. Bloomberg News, The Mercury News, "Tear gas envelops Hong Kong as protesters flood the streets," 12 June 2019 Even more radically, the company is debating the feasibility of launching bank accounts, according to the report. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "Uber is pivoting to fintech, something Asian startups have been doing for years," 12 June 2019 Instead of debating how to expand Medicare coverage, politicians should focus on fixing the fatal financial flaws in the existing program that threaten to bankrupt the nation. John F. Early, WSJ, "Modest Cuts Could Save Medicare From Disaster," 10 June 2019 Regardless of whether a craftsman-style home is for you, there's no debating that this unique architecture style deserves its spot in design history. Monique Valeris, ELLE Decor, "The True Beauty of Craftsman-Style Homes," 14 May 2019 After an event in Austin on Tuesday, O'Rourke said both his and Cruz's campaigns were talking about debating, the Houston Chronicle reported. Bradford Betz, Fox News, "Cruz, O'Rourke in talks for debates as Texas GOP taunts Democrat," 30 Aug. 2018 Sales teams and trial attorneys could sharpen their arguments through an AI system capable of debating, while researchers and decision-makers could benefit from the pro and con arguments that Debater could generate. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, "IBM's Jeopardy-Winning AI Is Now Ready to Debate You," 19 June 2018

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

18 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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