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

I haven’t been doing mock debates very much, but I’ve been just making sure that I understand all that he has said and hasn’t said.

Something that involved public debate and public contribution.

All the while the debate about whether or not you need E-A-T for ranking rages on.

From my view at least, there hasn’t been much of a public debate about it, which reflects the way Italy has handled the pandemic from the start.

From Fortune

There’s still debate as to whether such policies conflict with the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty.

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.


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More About Debate

What does debate mean?

A debate is a public discussion of a common topic or question between people on both sides of an issue, as in Voters were disappointed that there were no debates between the candidates.

A debate is also a formal contest in which the debaters speak on opposite sides of a topic.

Every debate is an argument but not every argument is a debate. While debates are competitive, both sides are attempting to persuade the other and the audience, not insult, hurt, or reprimand the other.

To debate means to engage in such discussions, as in The senate spent all night debating these weighty issues.

To debate also means to deliberate or weigh the pros and cons of a decision one has to make.

Example: I debated going on the trip, but I decided it was best for my mental health to stay home.

Where does debate come from?

The first records of the term debate come from the 1200s. It ultimately comes from the Latin battre, meaning “to beat.”

Debates are popular forms of entertainment, especially debates between candidates for major political offices. The point of a debate is not supposed to be entertainment but knowledge. The point of debating something is to exchange different perspectives on a topic to determine which is correct or the best choice. Although debates should be about knowledge, logic, and passion, they are just as often about emotions.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to debate?

  • debatable (adjective)
  • debater (noun)
  • debatingly (adverb)
  • outdebate (verb)
  • undebated (adjective)

What are some synonyms for debate?

What are some words that share a root or word element with debate

What are some words that often get used in discussing debate?

How is debate used in real life?

Debate is normally used to describe a specific conversation, either public or private.


Try using debate!

Which of the following is NOT a synonym for debate?

A. argue
B. agree
C. counter
D. discuss

When To Use

What are other ways to say debate?

To debate is to engage in argument or discussion, as in a legislative or public assembly. How does debate compare to discuss and argue? Find out on