What does debate mean?

Definitions for debate

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word debate.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. argument, argumentation, debatenoun

    a discussion in which reasons are advanced for and against some proposition or proposal

    "the argument over foreign aid goes on and on"

  2. debate, disputation, public debateverb

    the formal presentation of a stated proposition and the opposition to it (usually followed by a vote)

  3. debateverb

    argue with one another

    "We debated the question of abortion"; "John debated Mary"

  4. consider, debate, moot, turn over, deliberateverb

    think about carefully; weigh

    "They considered the possibility of a strike"; "Turn the proposal over in your mind"

  5. debate, deliberateverb

    discuss the pros and cons of an issue

  6. argue, contend, debate, fenceverb

    have an argument about something


  1. debatenoun

    Strife, discord.

  2. debatenoun

    An argument, or discussion, usually in an ordered or formal setting, often with more than two people, generally ending with a vote or other decision.

    After a four-hour debate, the committee voted to table the motion.

  3. debatenoun

    An informal and spirited but generally civil discussion of opposing views.

  4. debatenoun

    Discussion of opposing views.

    There has been considerable debate concerning exactly how to format these articles.

  5. debatenoun

    (Frequently in French form débat) a type of literary composition, taking the form of a discussion or disputation, commonly found in the vernacular medieval poetry of many European countries, as well as in medieval Latin.

  6. debateverb

    To fight.

  7. debateverb

    To participate in a debate; to dispute, argue, especially in a public arena.

  8. Etymology: From debatre, from Romanic desbattere, from dis- + battuere.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. A DEBATEnoun

    Etymology: debat, French.

    Another way that men ordinarily use, to force others to submit to their judgments, and receive their opinion in debate, is to require the adversary to admit what they allege as a proof, or to assign a better. John Locke.

    It is to diffuse a light over the understanding, in our enquiries after truth, and not to furnish the tongue with debate and controversy. Isaac Watts, Logick.

    Now, lords, if heav’n doth give successful end
    To this debate that bleedeth at our doors,
    We will our youth lead on to higher fields,
    And draw no swords but what are sanctified. William Shakespeare, H. IV.

    ’Tis thine to ruin realms, o’erturn a state;
    Betwixt the dearest friends to raise debate. John Dryden, Æn.

  2. To Debateverb

    To controvert; to dispute; to contest.

    Etymology: debatre, French.

    Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself, and discover not a secret to another. Prov. xxv. 9.

    He could not debate any thing without some commotion, even when the argument was not of moment. Edward Hyde.

  3. To Debateverb

    Your sev’ral suits
    Have been consider’d and debated on. William Shakespeare, Henry VI.

    He presents that great soul debating upon the subject of life and death with his intimate friends. Tatler, №. 53.


  1. Debate

    Debate is a process that involves formal discourse on a particular topic, often including a moderator and audience. In a debate, arguments are put forward for often opposing viewpoints. Debates have historically occurred in public meetings, academic institutions, debate halls, coffeehouses, competitions, and legislative assemblies. Debate has also been conducted for educational and recreational purposes, usually associated with educational establishments and debating societies. These debates put an emphasis upon logical consistency, factual accuracy, and emotional appeal to an audience. Modern forms of competitive debate also include rules for participants to discuss and decide upon the framework of the debate (how the debate will be judged).


  1. debate

    Debate is a structured method of conversation, discussion, or argument between two or more people with differing viewpoints, aiming to resolve a certain issue or clear a misunderstanding. Often associated with public forums and competitions, the essence of debate is to present facts, logic, and arguments to affirm or negate a statement, assertion, policy, or proposal. Each party tries to persuade the audience or the other party to accept their perspective as the most accurate, reasonable, or valid.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Debateverb

    to engage in combat for; to strive for

  2. Debateverb

    to contend for in words or arguments; to strive to maintain by reasoning; to dispute; to contest; to discuss; to argue for and against

  3. Debateverb

    to engage in strife or combat; to fight

  4. Debateverb

    to contend in words; to dispute; hence, to deliberate; to consider; to discuss or examine different arguments in the mind; -- often followed by on or upon

  5. Debateverb

    a fight or fighting; contest; strife

  6. Debateverb

    contention in words or arguments; discussion for the purpose of elucidating truth or influencing action; strife in argument; controversy; as, the debates in Parliament or in Congress

  7. Debateverb

    subject of discussion

  8. Etymology: [F. dbat, fr. dbattre. See Debate, v. t.]


  1. Debate

    Debate is contention in argument; dispute, controversy; discussion; especially the discussion of questions of public interest in Parliament or in any assembly. Debate is a method of interactive and representational argument. Debate is a broader form of argument than deductive reasoning, which only examines whether a conclusion is a consequence of premises, and factual argument, which only examines what is or isn't the case, or rhetoric, which is a technique of persuasion. Though logical consistency, factual accuracy and some degree of emotional appeal to the audience are important elements of the art of persuasion, in debating, one side often prevails over the other side by presenting a superior "context" and/or framework of the issue, which is far more subtle and strategic. The outcome of a debate depends upon consensus or some formal way of reaching a resolution, rather than the objective facts as such. In a formal debating contest, there are rules for participants to discuss and decide on differences, within a framework defining how they will interact. Debating is commonly carried out in many assemblies of various types to discuss matters and to make resolutions about action to be taken, often by a vote. Deliberative bodies such as parliaments, legislative assemblies, and meetings of all sorts engage in debates. In particular, in parliamentary democracies a legislature debates and decides on new laws. Formal debates between candidates for elected office, such as the leaders debates and the U.S. presidential election debates, are sometimes held in democracies. Debating is also carried out for educational and recreational purposes, usually associated with educational establishments. The major goal of the study of debate as a method or art is to develop the ability to debate rationally from either position with equal ease.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Debate

    de-bāt′, n. a contention in words or argument: (obs.) strife.—v.t. to contend for in argument: (arch.) to fight for.—v.i. to deliberate: to join in debate.—adjs. Debat′able, liable to be disputed; Debate′ful (Spens.), quarrelsome.—ns. Debate′ment (Spens., Shak.), controversy; Debat′er.—adv. Debat′ingly.—Debatable land, a tract of border land between Esk and Sark claimed both by England and Scotland. [O. Fr. debatre—L. de, and batuĕre, to beat.]

Editors Contribution

  1. debate

    To communicate and contribute a response to a form of unity government motion, question or form of proposed legislation using data, facts, information, proof, research, statistics or other relevant documentation.

    To use data, facts, information, document, research or statistics to debate within all forms of unity government is so important to ensure fairness and justness.

    Submitted by MaryC on July 22, 2020  

  2. debate

    To communicate and contribute a response to a question or request using data, proof, information, research, statistics and facts.

    People love to debate using data, information and facts.

    Submitted by MaryC on August 2, 2016  

  3. debate

    To discuss or communicate our view, belief, perception, opinion or knowledge in a conversation with a human being using data, proof, research, statistics, information and facts to support our view, perception, belief or opinion.

    Some people love to debate with their friends or fellow electorate in online forums or on social media. Debate is an intelligent element of a government process.

    Submitted by MaryC on September 12, 2016  

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Debate is ranked #159712 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Debate surname appeared 101 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Debate.

    95% or 96 total occurrences were White.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'debate' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1559

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'debate' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1276

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'debate' in Nouns Frequency: #584

  4. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'debate' in Verbs Frequency: #936

Anagrams for debate »

  1. beated

  2. betaed

How to pronounce debate?

How to say debate in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of debate in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of debate in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of debate in a Sentence

  1. Marco Rubio:

    Not just that debate, but every debate before it, I've shown consistently the ability to answer important and difficult questions I think in a very compelling way, we raised more money after this debate than any debate we've ever had and we're excited about it. And there's a reason they attacked me more than anyone else.

  2. Newt Gingrich:

    The people in the five o'clock debate should go into that debate with the idea that if they have the right performance, the next time around, they're going to be in the 9 o'clock debate, and you'll have several people in the 9 o'clock debate collapsing as serious candidates in the next few months. Both are true.

  3. Seth Moulton:

    Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), a Marine who served four tours in Iraq, said, “The time to debate whether we stay in Afghanistan has passed, but there is still time to debate how we manage our retreat.”

  4. Britney Yanick:

    First, John Fetterman's campaign lied about wanting to debate Dr. Oz based on some secretive 'terms' that they won't share with anyone. Now, John Fetterman says he won't debate Doctor Oz 'in the first week of September.' That's another lie, he won't debate Doctor Oz at all, and we all know it. The WFMZ Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber debate makes TWO debates that Fetterman is ducking. So now we have two lies AND two ducked debates. We thought John Fetterman was a big tough guy, so what is he so afraid of? Is he afraid of defending his radical record of releasing murderers back on the streets? Let us know, John.

  5. Joseph Joubert:

    It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for debate

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • مناظرة, نقاش, مناقشةArabic
  • дискутирам, дискусия, разискване, дебатирам, дебатиBulgarian
  • debatovatCzech
  • debattieren, DebatteGerman
  • συζητώ, αντιπαράθεση, αντιπαραθέτω, συζήτηση, διάλογος, συνεξετάζω, δίβατονGreek
  • debatir, debateSpanish
  • debatti, väitellä, väittelyFinnish
  • débat, débattre, discussionFrench
  • connsaich, connsachadhScottish Gaelic
  • चर्चा करना, बिबाद, वाद विवाद, वाद - विवाद करना, वाद-विवाद, वाद - विवाद, बहस, बहस करनाHindi
  • բանավիճել, բանավեճ, քննարկում, վեճArmenian
  • debatarIdo
  • dibattimento, dibattito, dibattereItalian
  • 議論, 討論Japanese
  • пікірталасKazakh
  • 토론Korean
  • disputō, disputātiōLatin
  • taupatupatuMāori
  • debatteren, discussie, meningsverschil, bespreking, bespreken, debat, uitpratenDutch
  • debattNorwegian
  • debataPolish
  • discussão, debater, debatePortuguese
  • discuție, dezbatere, polemică, controversăRomanian
  • дебат, спорить, дебаты, дискуссия, спор, полемика, обсуждать, дискутироватьRussian
  • debatAlbanian
  • meningsutbyte, debatt, diskussion, debatteraSwedish
  • mdahaloSwahili
  • వ్యాసం రచన పోటీ, ప్రత్యేక చర్చ, చర్చించుకొను, వాదించుకొను, చర్చలలో పాల్గొను, వాదించు, చర్చలు, వ్యాసరచన పోటీ, విమర్శించుTelugu
  • müzakere, münazara, tartışmak, tartışmaTurkish
  • tranh luậnVietnamese
  • 辯論Chinese

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"debate." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 3 Dec. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/debate>.

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    a disposition that is confused or nervous and upset
    • A. caddie
    • B. descant
    • C. fluster
    • D. gloat

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