Definition of debate in English:

debate

noun

  • 1A formal discussion on a particular matter in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward and which usually ends with a vote:

    ‘last night's debate on the Education Bill’
    • ‘Many of the big meetings allowed little time for discussion, so most debates took place informally or at smaller meetings and seminars.’
    • ‘She is always on the move, always between important committee meetings and debates in the Lords and media interviews and court appearances.’
    • ‘They also called for a debate on the subject to be held in the European Parliament.’
    • ‘Watt committed himself to holding more public debates and discussions separate from council meetings.’
    • ‘The Deputy First Minister has tabled two amendments for the final debate on Wednesday.’
    • ‘Pendle councillors held a debate on phone masts and called for more power to decide where they went.’
    • ‘Not one public meeting or debate has been organised by the council.’
    • ‘We can constantly intervene in discussions and debates and ask why questions are framed in the way they are.’
    • ‘More than any other events on the campaign trail this year, the debates have drawn intense public interest.’
    • ‘A debate in parliament was interrupted for an announcement of Germany's victory.’
    • ‘The records on televised presidential debates are unequivocal.’
    • ‘In yesterday's debate, Mr Wicks acknowledged the " complexity " of the problems facing former mining areas.’
    • ‘In the first couple of activists' meetings there were debates about selling Socialist Worker and holding Marxist forums.’
    • ‘Both bids had previously been turned down by members of the District Council following debates at planning meetings.’
    • ‘The second question is, why were all the meetings and debates on the budget closed to the public?’
    • ‘Local party and trade union delegates also voted for debates on the issues of public services, pensions, employment rights and manufacturing.’
    • ‘In those circumstances the House does not need to hold an urgent debate on the matter today.’
    • ‘In the key parliamentary debate on Tuesday he voted in support of the war.’
    • ‘Switzerland, with its generally slower pace and its thorough political debates before votes are held, may be the exception.’
    • ‘I am looking forward to the National Party's contribution to tonight's debate.’
    discussion, exchange of views, discourse, parley
    argument, dispute, wrangle, altercation, war of words
    arguing, argumentation, wrangling, sparring, disputation, dissension, disagreement, controversy, contention, conflict, disharmony
    negotiations, talks
    dialogue, comment, interest
    confab, powwow, rap session
    velitation, contestation
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    1. 1.1 An argument about a particular subject, especially one in which many people are involved:
      ‘the national debate on abortion’
      [mass noun] ‘there has been much debate about prices’
      • ‘The research will also reignite the debate over the use of cannabis for other medicinal purposes.’
      • ‘The book, published in 1999, sparked considerable public debate.’
      • ‘Some of the by-laws generated heated public debate when they were published in their draft form.’
      • ‘The debate on this subject will go on as long as the human race exists, so all I can do is raise a few points on the subject.’
      • ‘I wouldn't normally involve myself in debates or arguments about who should be American president.’
      • ‘It is a subject that warrants wider debate and much more prompt action.’
      • ‘In France, the nature, meaning and acceptability of his work remain the subject of debate.’
      • ‘Certain parts of the country are beginning to explore the uses of the site and get involved in serious debates.’
      • ‘Whether civil servants should wear a uniform is still a matter of public debate.’
      • ‘One of the most vigorous philosophical debates of the century broke out among cosmologists during the 1930s and 1940s.’
      • ‘The subject that dominates the debate about the new car is of course the styling.’
      • ‘News filtered through as MPs debated the bill that will pay for the Olympic Games.’
      • ‘Love him or hate him, he is the subject of heated debates among fans.’
      • ‘Adverts on television and in newspapers were designed to begin the public debate about the assembly.’
      • ‘A vigorous debate is raging over the economic growth estimates.’
      • ‘Motherhood - taken for granted for centuries - is now the subject of heated debates.’
      • ‘And while we're on the subject of national debates, the perennial one about the future of the BBC rumbles on.’
      • ‘This aspect of the debate has been the subject of much political and academic disagreement.’
      • ‘An ongoing debate is raging in Germany about the pros and cons of daycare for children.’
      • ‘Now the great debate on smoking in public spaces is coming to Manchester.’
      • ‘While the cause of the erratic weather is a subject of debate, a couple of its effects are clear.’
      argument, quarrel, wrangle, squabble, altercation, dispute, disputation, war of words, contretemps, misunderstanding
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verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Argue about (a subject), especially in a formal manner:

    ‘MPs debated the issue in the Commons’
    [no object] ‘members of the society debated for five nights’
    • ‘Five protesters managed to evade security to enter the chamber as MPs debated the controversial issue.’
    • ‘I would have thought the fact that Parliament is debating this legislation shows parliamentary power.’
    • ‘The Bill, brought under the ten-minute rule, is due to be debated by MPs on Tuesday.’
    • ‘The issue of the bridge came up again, for the second month in a row, and again the topic was hotly debated.’
    • ‘The trust's financial recovery plan was also debated at the meeting.’
    • ‘Last Tuesday the issue was debated by the Scottish parliament's European committee.’
    • ‘But when it came to the price of salt, the commissioners spent many hours debating the subject.’
    • ‘The role of physiotherapy in prevention and management of pulmonary disease has been debated for decades.’
    • ‘Last night the House of Lords debated a proposal to extend research on human embryos.’
    • ‘There are working groups and study groups still debating the issues.’
    • ‘Congress is now debating agricultural policy for the new millennium.’
    • ‘He may let parliament debate the matter, if it suits him.’
    • ‘Further rioting followed and the subject was debated in the Reichstag.’
    • ‘He hoped MPs would be able to debate the issue and persuade the government to change its stance.’
    • ‘Reproductive cloning will be debated at the Royal Society of Edinburgh on November 5.’
    • ‘In essence, that is why we are here today debating this bill.’
    • ‘For decades, experts have debated the relative merits of nonprofit vs. for-profit hospitals.’
    • ‘The item had not been included on the agenda, which meant the committee could not debate the issue.’
    • ‘The Law Society of Scotland is set to debate the issue of child offenders and child rights at a conference in May.’
    • ‘Reports on highly specialist issues are debated, but with little detail.’
    discuss, confer about, talk over, talk through, talk about, exchange views on, exchange views about, thrash out, argue, argue about, argue the pros and cons of, dispute, wrangle over, bandy words concerning, contend over, contest, controvert, moot
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    1. 1.1[with clause] Consider a possible course of action in one's mind before reaching a decision:
      ‘he debated whether he should leave the matter alone or speak to her’
      • ‘I stared at the plate for a while debating whether to try it.’
      • ‘I told him it was too late when I saw he was debating whether or not to tell me more.’
      • ‘Sandra paused for a moment and debated in her mind as to whether she should go or not.’
      • ‘I was debating whether or not to approach her and ask her if anything was wrong.’
      • ‘Brittany bit her lip for a moment as she debated which to choose.’
      • ‘After standing near the door debating whether or not to enter I decide just to go in.’
      • ‘She sat cross-legged with a confused look on her face, debating whether to ask or keep quiet until a better time.’
      • ‘After all, once you are debating whether a work is art or not, you have already proven it is.’
      • ‘Audrey debated the issue for a minute, then bent down and gave Todd a peck on the cheek.’
      • ‘Terry, a big man in a rather loud suit, is openly debating whether to sign up now.’
      • ‘Christine looked at Jacquin, she was debating in her mind if she should talk to him or not.’
      • ‘The person who bumped into her froze and was obviously debating whether or not to make a run for it.’
      • ‘She took a sip of her iced tea, silently debating about whether to tell him or not.’
      • ‘Her mind was still debating which way to go when her body went ahead and chose for her.’
      • ‘I can see she is debating whether or not to tell me the truth.’
      • ‘Still debating whether to call B. It would be such a step back if I do.’
      • ‘Dennis put his bag down on the ground and stared at it, at if he was debating whether to open it.’
      • ‘He waits by the phone, debating whether to make a trip to India to search for his son.’
      • ‘After school, Kendra was debating with herself whether or not to go to practice.’
      • ‘The sisters themselves were equally nervous, debating whether or not to go for just a half container.’
      consider, give some thought to, think over, think about, chew over, mull over, turn over in one's mind, weigh up, ponder, deliberate, reflect, contemplate, muse, meditate, cogitate
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Origin

Middle English: via Old French from Latin dis- (expressing reversal) + battere to fight.

Pronunciation

debate

/dɪˈbeɪt/