verb (used without object), de·bat·ed, de·bat·ing.

verb (used with object), de·bat·ed, de·bat·ing.

Origin of debate

1250–1300; (v.) Middle English debaten < Old French debatre, equivalent to de- de- + batre to beat < Latin battere, earlier battuere; (noun) Middle English debat < Old French, derivative of debatre
Related formsde·bat·er, nounde·bat·ing·ly, adverbin·ter·de·bate, verb, in·ter·de·bat·ed, in·ter·de·bat·ing.non·de·bat·er, nounnon·de·bat·ing, adjectiveout·de·bate, verb (used with object), out·de·bat·ed, out·de·bat·ing.o·ver·de·bate, verb, o·ver·de·bat·ed, o·ver·de·bat··de·bate, adjectivepre·de·bate, nounpre·de·bat·er, nounre·de·bate, noun, verb, re·de·bat·ed, re·de·bat·ing.un·de·bat·ed, adjectiveun·de·bat·ing, adjectivewell-de·bat·ed, adjective

Synonyms for debate

Synonym study

5. See argue. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for debate

Contemporary Examples of debate

Historical Examples of debate

British Dictionary definitions for debate



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


to discuss (a motion), esp in a formal assembly
to deliberate upon (something)he debated with himself whether to go
Derived Formsdebater, noun

Word Origin for debate

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

Word Origin and History for debate

late 14c., "to quarrel, dispute," also "discuss, deliberate upon the pros and cons of," from Old French debatre (13c., Modern French débattre), originally "to fight," from de- "down, completely" (see de-) + batre "to beat" (see battery). Related: Debated; debating.


early 14c., "a quarrel, dispute, disagreement," from Old French debat; see debate (v.). Sense of "a formal dispute, a debating contest" is perhaps from early 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper