American English

Definition of debate verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they debate
    he / she / it debates
    past simple debated
    -ing form debating
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  1. 1[transitive, intransitive] to discuss something, especially formally, before making a decision or finding a solution synonym discuss debate (something) Politicians will be debating the bill later this week. The question of the origin of the universe is still hotly debated (= strongly argued about) by scientists. debate whether, what, etc.. The committee will debate whether to lower the age of club membership to 16. Thesaurustalkdiscuss speak communicate debate consultThese words all mean to share news, information, ideas, or feelings with another person or other people, especially by talking with to speak in order to give information, express feelings, or share ideas:We talked on the phone for over an hour.discuss (somewhat formal) to talk and share ideas on a subject or problem with other people, especially in order to decide something:Have you discussed the problem with anyone? You cannot say “discuss about something”:I'm not prepared to discuss about this on the phone.speak to talk to someone about something; to have a conversation with someone:I've spoken to the manager about it. “Can I speak with Susan?” “Speaking.” (= at the beginning of a telephone conversation)talk or speak?Speak can suggest a more formal level of communication than talk. You speak to or with someone about something to try to achieve a particular goal or to tell them to do something. You talk to or with someone in order to be friendly or to ask their advice:Have you talked to your parents about the problems you're having? I've spoken to Ed about it and he's promised not to let it happen again.communicate (somewhat formal) to exchange information or ideas with someone:We only communicate by e-mail. Dolphins use sound to communicate with each other. Communicate is often used when the speaker wants to draw attention to the means of communication used.debate to discuss something, especially formally, before making a decision or finding a solution:Politicians will be debating the bill later this week.consult (somewhat formal) to discuss something with someone in order to get their permission for something, or to help you make a decision:You shouldn't have changed your plans without consulting me.Patterns to talk/discuss something/speak/communicate/debate/consult with somebody to talk/speak to somebody to talk to somebody/speak to somebody/consult somebody about something
  2. 2[intransitive, transitive] to think carefully about something before making a decision debate (with yourself) She debated with herself for a while, and then picked up the phone. debate whether, what, etc.. We're debating whether or not to go skiing this winter. debate doing something For a moment he debated going after her.
    noun [uncountable] a debating club at a school
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: debate

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