Definition of debate in English:

debate

noun

  • 1A formal discussion on a particular topic in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward.

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

[with object]
  • 1Argue about (a subject), especially in a formal manner.

    ‘the board debated his proposal’
    ‘the date when people first entered America is hotly debated’
    • ‘The role of physiotherapy in prevention and management of pulmonary disease has been debated for decades.’
    • ‘Reports on highly specialist issues are debated, but with little detail.’
    • ‘Last night the House of Lords debated a proposal to extend research on human embryos.’
    • ‘He hoped MPs would be able to debate the issue and persuade the government to change its stance.’
    • ‘The issue of the bridge came up again, for the second month in a row, and again the topic was hotly debated.’
    • ‘I would have thought the fact that Parliament is debating this legislation shows parliamentary power.’
    • ‘The trust's financial recovery plan was also debated at the meeting.’
    • ‘Congress is now debating agricultural policy for the new millennium.’
    • ‘The Bill, brought under the ten-minute rule, is due to be debated by MPs on Tuesday.’
    • ‘He may let parliament debate the matter, if it suits him.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Law Society of Scotland is set to debate the issue of child offenders and child rights at a conference in May.’
    • ‘Five protesters managed to evade security to enter the chamber as MPs debated the controversial issue.’
    • ‘Further rioting followed and the subject was debated in the Reichstag.’
    • ‘The item had not been included on the agenda, which meant the committee could not debate the issue.’
    • ‘For decades, experts have debated the relative merits of nonprofit vs. for-profit hospitals.’
    • ‘Last Tuesday the issue was debated by the Scottish parliament's European committee.’
    • ‘There are working groups and study groups still debating the issues.’
    • ‘But when it came to the price of salt, the commissioners spent many hours debating the subject.’
    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. 1.1with 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’
      • ‘After standing near the door debating whether or not to enter I decide just to go in.’
      • ‘Terry, a big man in a rather loud suit, is openly debating whether to sign up now.’
      • ‘Her mind was still debating which way to go when her body went ahead and chose for her.’
      • ‘She took a sip of her iced tea, silently debating about whether to tell him or not.’
      • ‘He waits by the phone, debating whether to make a trip to India to search for his son.’
      • ‘After all, once you are debating whether a work is art or not, you have already proven it is.’
      • ‘I can see she is debating whether or not to tell me the truth.’
      • ‘I was debating whether or not to approach her and ask her if anything was wrong.’
      • ‘She sat cross-legged with a confused look on her face, debating whether to ask or keep quiet until a better time.’
      • ‘The person who bumped into her froze and was obviously debating whether or not to make a run for it.’
      • ‘Still debating whether to call B. It would be such a step back if I do.’
      • ‘Christine looked at Jacquin, she was debating in her mind if she should talk to him or not.’
      • ‘After school, Kendra was debating with herself whether or not to go to practice.’
      • ‘Brittany bit her lip for a moment as she debated which to choose.’
      • ‘I told him it was too late when I saw he was debating whether or not to tell me more.’
      • ‘I stared at the plate for a while debating whether to try it.’
      • ‘Audrey debated the issue for a minute, then bent down and gave Todd a peck on the cheek.’
      • ‘The sisters themselves were equally nervous, debating whether or not to go for just a half container.’
      • ‘Dennis put his bag down on the ground and stared at it, at if he was debating whether to open it.’
      • ‘Sandra paused for a moment and debated in her mind as to whether she should go or not.’
      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
      View synonyms

Phrases

  • be open to debate

    • Be unproven; require further discussion.

      • ‘While overall no one would argue that a reduction in more serious accidents is anything less than encouraging, the part played by speed cameras in this is open to debate.’
      • ‘Furthermore, the true value of those benefits is open to debate.’
      • ‘How one goes about implementing that ideology is open to debate.’
      • ‘Whether this is because O-levels are harder or they needed longer to prepare is open to debate.’
      • ‘Just how much Yorkshire will benefit from his return is open to debate as the player is contracted to England.’
      • ‘How well specific juries expressed the people's will was open to debate.’
      • ‘Whether women are less ambitious than men is open to debate.’
      • ‘Whether Arsenal would have had the energy to withstand an 11-man challenge is open to debate.’
      • ‘The significance of this fact is open to debate.’
      • ‘The penalty decision which followed is open to debate for the initial challenge took place outside the box, with the momentum of both players carrying them into the area.’
  • under debate

    • Being discussed or disputed.

      • ‘The working time directive which was under debate last week prevents employers from employing workers to work more than 48 hours per week.’
      • ‘Fisher's theory is just one of several hypotheses under debate today.’
      • ‘The Commission is yet to come up with a final report, since the current document under debate is a draft document.’
      • ‘One of the key policy discussions currently under debate is research on embryonic stem-cells.’
      • ‘There's a controversial proposal under debate in New York City now that would give non-citizens a protected privilege of American citizenship, the right to vote.’
      • ‘The new act, which is currently under debate, gives landlords the opportunity to catch up on rent increases not administered in the past three years without having to go through arbitration.’
      • ‘Plans to radically shake up local government and to divide the country into elected regional assemblies are currently under debate.’
      • ‘Can I ask the Leader of the Opposition to stick to the matter under debate?’
      • ‘The exact details of these studies are under debate, but there is a consensus that the Earth formed about 4.6 billion years ago and that life began within the first billion years.’
      • ‘But just what constitutes success is still under debate.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

debate

/dəˈbeɪt//dəˈbāt/