from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To consider something; deliberate.
  • intransitive verb To engage in argument by discussing opposing points.
  • intransitive verb To engage in a formal discussion or argument. synonym: discuss.
  • intransitive verb Obsolete To fight or quarrel.
  • intransitive verb To deliberate on; consider.
  • intransitive verb To dispute or argue about.
  • intransitive verb To discuss or argue (a question, for example) formally.
  • intransitive verb Obsolete To fight or argue for or over.
  • noun A discussion involving opposing points; an argument.
  • noun Deliberation; consideration.
  • noun A formal contest of argumentation in which two opposing teams defend and attack a given proposition.
  • noun Obsolete Conflict; strife.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Debasement; degradation.
  • noun Strife; contention; contest; fight; quarrel.
  • noun Contention by argument; discussion; dispute; controversy: as, forensic debates.
  • noun Subject of discussion.
  • To abate; lower.
  • To abate; fall off.
  • To engage in combat; fight; do battle.
  • To dispute; contend.
  • To deliberate together; discuss or argue; also, reflect; consider.
  • To fight or contend for; battle for, as with arms.
  • To contend about in argument; argue for or against; discuss; dispute: as, the question was debated till a late hour.
  • To reflect upon; consider; think.
  • Synonyms Argue, Dispute, Debate, etc. See argue.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb obsolete To engage in strife or combat; to fight.
  • intransitive verb 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.
  • noun Archaic A fight or fighting; contest; strife.
  • noun Contention in words or arguments; discussion for the purpose of elucidating truth or influencing action; strife in argument; controversy.
  • noun rare Subject of discussion.
  • transitive verb To engage in combat for; to strive for.
  • transitive verb To contend for in words or arguments; to strive to maintain by reasoning; to dispute; to contest; to discuss; to argue for and against.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun obsolete Strife, discord.
  • noun 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.
  • noun An informal and spirited but generally civil discussion of opposing views.
  • noun uncountable Discussion of opposing views.
  • noun 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.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the formal presentation of a stated proposition and the opposition to it (usually followed by a vote)
  • verb have an argument about something
  • noun a discussion in which reasons are advanced for and against some proposition or proposal
  • verb discuss the pros and cons of an issue
  • verb think about carefully; weigh
  • verb argue with one another


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English debaten, from Old French debatre : de-, de- + battre, to beat; see batter.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French debatre ("to fight, contend, debate, also literarlly to beat down"), from Romanic desbattere, from Latin dis- ("apart, in different directions") + battuere ("to beat, to fence").


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  • I think that there's room for debate about what is or isn't appropriate for public calling-out, but I think that the word *debate* there is key - not just running with a default assumption of anything possibly hurtful = bad = verboten.

    Community Is Hard. Deal With It. 2008

  • One form might claim that the idea of a significant debate is generated by unsupported or unsupportable philosophical theses about the relationship of the experiencing and minded subject to their world, and that once these theses are exorcised the ˜debate™ will gradually wither away.

    Realism Miller, Alexander 2005

  • In either case, dressing the whole thing up in "debate" is futile.

    Testing the Freedom to Choose, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty 2009

  • It seems you are following the Richard Conlin "debate is over!" talking point.

    Council Should Unite Behind McGinn On The Tunnel Cost Overrun Provision « PubliCola 2010

  • That's what the "lifestyle change" debate is code for in the green space.

    David Roberts: Will Tackling Climate Change Involve "Lifestyle Change"? 2009

  • One good litmus test in debate is to quantify the hypocrisy, then take note of who is turning a blind eye.

    Congratulations, Chuck! 2006

  • The term "debate" itself was debatable: the two agreed on so much that some viewers wondered if they were seeing the genesis of a Gingrich-Huntsman presidential ticket - the gruff elder statesman and the photogenic former governor.

    Reuters: Press Release 2011

  • The term "debate" itself was debatable: the two agreed on so much that some viewers wondered if they were seeing the genesis of a Gingrich-Huntsman presidential ticket - the gruff elder statesman and the photogenic former governor.

    Reuters: Top News 2011

  • But I do think, you know, when you compare - the word debate is, you know, in terms of Twitter will instantly be compared to television.

    NPR Topics: News 2011

  • Robert Potts, who recently retired as chancellor at Arkansas State University, witnessed the nickname debate in two states. rss feed 2011


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  • The real debate.

    (Why does The Penguin remind me of Cheney?)

    October 16, 2008

  • I presume it wasn't Happy Feet.

    October 16, 2008

  • Hardly.

    October 16, 2008

  • Did I, debating, Nita dating, Nita bed? I did.

    October 18, 2008