Definition of debate in English:

debate

Line breaks: de¦bate
Pronunciation: /dɪˈbeɪt
 
/

noun

1A formal discussion on a particular matter in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward and which usually ends with a vote: last night’s debate on the Education Bill
More example sentences
  • Watt committed himself to holding more public debates and discussions separate from council meetings.
  • In those circumstances the House does not need to hold an urgent debate on the matter today.
  • Not one public meeting or debate has been organised by the council.
Synonyms
discussion, exchange of views, discourse, parley; argument, dispute, wrangle, altercation, war of words; arguing, argumentation, wrangling, sparring, disputation, dissension, disagreement, controversy, contention, conflict, disharmony; negotiations, talks; dialogue, comment, interest
informal confab, powwow, rap session
1.1An argument about a particular subject, especially one in which many people are involved: the national debate on abortion [mass noun]: there has been much debate about prices
More example sentences
  • The debate on this subject will go on as long as the human race exists, so all I can do is raise a few points on the subject.
  • This aspect of the debate has been the subject of much political and academic disagreement.
  • I wouldn't normally involve myself in debates or arguments about who should be American president.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
1Argue about (a subject), especially in a formal manner: MPs debated the issue in the Commons [no object]: members of the society debated for five nights
More example sentences
  • The issue of the bridge came up again, for the second month in a row, and again the topic was hotly debated.
  • But when it came to the price of salt, the commissioners spent many hours debating the subject.
  • Further rioting followed and the subject was debated in the Reichstag.
Synonyms
discuss, confer about, talk over, talk through, talk about, exchange views on, exchange views about, thrash out, argue, argue about, argue the pros and cons of, dispute, wrangle over, bandy words concerning, contend over, contest, controvert, moot
archaic altercate
1.1 [with clause] Consider a possible course of action in one’s mind before reaching a decision: he debated whether he should leave the matter alone or speak to her
More example sentences
  • I can see she is debating whether or not to tell me the truth.
  • Sandra paused for a moment and debated in her mind as to whether she should go or not.
  • Christine looked at Jacquin, she was debating in her mind if she should talk to him or not.
Synonyms

Origin

Middle English: via Old French from Latin dis- (expressing reversal) + battere 'to fight'.

Phrases

be open to debate

Be unproven and requiring further discussion: whether a further wave of takeovers would benefit consumers is open to debate
More example sentences
  • Furthermore, the true value of those benefits is open to debate.
  • Just how much Yorkshire will benefit from his return is open to debate as the player is contracted to England.
  • How well specific juries expressed the people's will was open to debate.

under debate

Being discussed or disputed: the subject is still under debate
More example sentences
  • One of the key policy discussions currently under debate is research on embryonic stem-cells.
  • Fisher's theory is just one of several hypotheses under debate today.
  • There's a controversial proposal under debate in New York City now that would give non-citizens a protected privilege of American citizenship, the right to vote.

Derivatives

debater

noun
More example sentences
  • If more and more see themselves as advocates rather than as generators and debaters of ideas, then it's a different society
  • The topic this week is how the Fourth Amendment should apply to searches of computer hard drives, and the debaters are Professor Brenner and myself.
  • But surprisingly, on one key issue, the debaters found common cause.

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