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[dis-pyoo-tey-shuh n]
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  1. the act of disputing or debating; verbal controversy; discussion or debate.
  2. an academic exercise consisting of the arguing of a thesis between its maintainer and its opponents.
  3. Obsolete. conversation.
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Origin of disputation

1350–1400; Middle English disputacioun < Latin disputātiōn- (stem of disputātiō), equivalent to disputāt(us) (past participle of disputāre; disput- (see dispute) + -ātus -ate1) + -iōn- -ion; replacing desputisoun < Old French
Related formspre·dis·pu·ta·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for disputation

Historical Examples

  • In a word, is not the art of disputation a power of disputing about all things?



  • But heresies have polluted every church, and schisms are the fruit of disputation.

    The Pioneers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • It is reported that something in the nature of a disputation was now held.

  • Nothing had been accomplished, therefore, when the disputation ceased.

  • But to leave this technical, though not wholly unreal, disputation.

    Personality in Literature

    Rolfe Arnold Scott-James

British Dictionary definitions for disputation


  1. the act or an instance of arguing
  2. a formal academic debate on a thesis
  3. an obsolete word for conversation
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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 disputation


late 14c., from Old French desputasion and directly from Latin disputationem (nominative disputatio), noun of action from past participle stem of disputare (see dispute).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper