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[dih-bey-tuh-buh l] /dɪˈbeɪ tə bəl/
open to question; in dispute; doubtful:
Whether or not he is qualified for the job is debatable.
capable of being debated.
Origin of debatable
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Middle French. See debate, -able
Related forms
nondebatable, adjective
undebatable, adjective
1. questionable, dubious, arguable, disputable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for debatable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In the debatable class there ought to be a definition of all disputed matters.

    Phaedrus Plato
  • Then Socrates: The question would seem at any rate to be debatable.

    The Symposium Xenophon
  • And the love-part of it seemed to him fixed: it didn't occur to him that that was debatable.

  • Now, it was singularly unfortunate that the question was ever debatable.

    Bones Edgar Wallace
  • My hotel stands in the debatable land between the two districts.

    Gossamer George A. Birmingham
British Dictionary definitions for debatable


open to question; disputable
(law) in dispute, as land or territory to which two parties lay claim
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for debatable

1530s (late 15c. in Anglo-Latin), from Old French debatable (Modern French débattable), from debatre (see debate (v.)). Earliest references were to lands claimed by two nations; general sense is from 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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