View synonyms for debate


[ dih-beyt ]


  1. a discussion, as of a public question in an assembly, involving opposing viewpoints:

    a debate in the Senate on farm price supports.

    Synonyms: contention, disputation, controversy, argument

  2. a formal contest in which the affirmative and negative sides of a proposition are advocated by opposing speakers.
  3. Archaic. strife; contention.

verb (used without object)

, de·bat·ed, de·bat·ing.
  1. to engage in argument or discussion, as in a legislative or public assembly:

    When we left, the men were still debating.

    Synonyms: contend, dispute

  2. to participate in a formal debate.
  3. to deliberate; consider:

    I debated with myself whether to tell them the truth or not.

  4. Obsolete. to fight; quarrel.

verb (used with object)

, de·bat·ed, de·bat·ing.
  1. to argue or discuss (a question, issue, or the like), as in a legislative or public assembly:

    They debated the matter of free will.

  2. to dispute or disagree about:

    The homeowners debated the value of a road on the island.

  3. to engage in formal argumentation or disputation with (another person, group, etc.):

    Jones will debate Smith. Harvard will debate Princeton.

  4. to deliberate upon; consider:

    He debated his decision in the matter.

  5. Archaic. to contend for or over.


/ dɪˈbeɪt /


  1. a formal discussion, as in a legislative body, in which opposing arguments are put forward
  2. discussion or dispute
  3. the formal presentation and opposition of a specific motion, followed by a vote


  1. to discuss (a motion), esp in a formal assembly
  2. to deliberate upon (something)

    he debated with himself whether to go

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Derived Forms

  • deˈbater, noun

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Other Words From

  • de·bater noun
  • de·bating·ly adverb
  • inter·de·bate verb interdebated interdebating
  • nonde·bater noun
  • nonde·bating adjective
  • outde·bate verb (used with object) outdebated outdebating
  • over·de·bate verb overdebated overdebating
  • postde·bate adjective
  • prede·bate noun
  • prede·bater noun
  • rede·bate noun verb redebated redebating
  • unde·bated adjective
  • unde·bating adjective
  • well-de·bated adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of debate1

First recorded in 1250–1300; (for the verb) Middle English debaten, from Old French debatre, from de- de- + batre “to beat” (from Latin battere, earlier battuere ); noun derivative of the verb

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Word History and Origins

Origin of debate1

C13: from Old French debatre to discuss, argue, from Latin battuere

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Example Sentences

Throughout the fifties, in city after city, fluoridation became the subject of fierce debate.

Bush busy engaging constituents on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate ahead of the 2004 presidential election.

The debate over who really pulled off the Sony hack, then, could continue indefinitely.

And it must make sure that the platform of debate where we can freely exchange ideas is safe and sound.

They already know the answer, but they know by feigning ignorance they can create all this debate about it.

On the 13th of February the Stamp Act bill was introduced and read for the first time, without debate.

The Cuban debts and the future of the Philippines were really the knotty points in the entire debate.

Congress met, and during the debate on the momentous question—peace or war—the hitherto compact group of intransigents weakened.

He had not started the journey brashly, on impulse, but after debate and discussion with Mandy, his wife.

The decree of accusation was proposed, and carried, without debate, beneath the poniards of uncounted thousands of assassins.