February 12, 2021
Learner's Word of the Day
debate /dɪˈbeɪt/ noun

plural debates

Two candidates at a debate
Two candidates at a debate
Learner's definition of DEBATE

: a discussion between people in which they express different opinions about something

◊ A debate can be an organized event, an informal discussion between two or more people, or a general discussion that involves many people.


  • The candidates participated in several debates before the election was held.

  • Our polite chat about politics slowly turned into a heated debate. [=argument]

  • At the center/core/heart of the debate [=controversy] is the question of responsibility.

— often + on, about, or over

  • The university is hosting a debate on gun control.

  • current debates on/about the value of public schools

  • The town held a debate over what to do about the recent traffic problems.

  • The court decision sparked a raging/furious debate over property rights.


  • The meaning of the text has been the subject of considerable/intense/lively debate among scholars for many years.

  • What topics will be under debate? [=debated]

— often + on, about, or over

  • There was much debate on/about/over whether the new program was worth the cost.

  • There's little debate [=controversy] about the health benefits of moderate exercise.

  • The book traces centuries of debate over the origins of language.

◊ If something is a matter of debate or open to debate, people have different ideas and opinions about it.

  • Whether or not the tax cuts benefit the poor is still a matter of debate. [=debatable]

  • The accuracy of the report is open to debate.

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