Etymology
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disputation (n.)

late 14c., disputacioun, "formal debate or discussion before an audience or official body regarding the truth of something," from Old French desputasion and directly from Latin disputationem (nominative disputatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of disputare "weigh, examine, discuss, argue, explain" (see dispute (v.)). Earlier was desputeison (c. 1300), from Old French desputaison.

Disputation, as game for teaching logic, was a principal part of the scholastic exercises, and perhaps may still be so in some countries. A master presided, and after a sufficient time decided in favor of one of the disputants, who was then obliged to give his adversary a great thwack with a wooden instrument. [Century Dictionary, 1895]
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disputatious (adj.)

"pertaining to or characterized by dispute; inclined to disputing," 1650s; see disputation + -ous. Related: Disputatiously. In the sense "inclined to disputation," earlier words were disputative (1570s), disputeful (1630s); Shakespeare used disputable (c. 1600).

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contestation (n.)

1540s, "action of calling to witness," from Latin contestationem (nominative contestatio), "an attesting, testimony," noun of action from past-participle stem of contestari (see contest (v.)). Meaning "disputation, controversy" is from 1570s.

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dialectical (adj.)

1540s, " of or pertaining to logical disputation, relating to the art of reasoning;" see dialectic + -al (1). From 1750 as "of or pertaining to a dialect." From 1788 as "of the nature of philosophical dialectic" (in reference to Kant, later to Hegel and Marx). Related: Dialectally. Dialectical materialism (by 1927) translates Marx's phrase.

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respondent (n.)

"one who answers" in a lawsuit, disputation, survey, etc., 1520s, from Latin respondentem (nominative respondens), present participle of respondere "respond, answer to, promise in return," from re- "back" (see re-) + spondere "to pledge" (see sponsor (n.)). Related: Respondence "correspondence, act of responding."

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opponent (n.)

"one who opposes, an adversary, an antagonist," 1580s, from noun use of Latin opponentem (nominative opponens), present participle of opponere "oppose, object to," literally "set against, set opposite," from assimilated form of ob "in front of, in the way of" (see ob-) + ponere "to put, set, place" (see position (n.)). Originally "one who maintains a contrary argument in a disputation;" the general sense is by 1610s.

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controversy (n.)

"disputation, debate, prolonged agitation of contrary opinions," late 14c., from Old French controversie "quarrel, disagreement" or directly from Latin controversia "a turning against; contention, quarrel, dispute," from controversus "turned in an opposite direction, disputed, turned against," from contra "against" (see contra (prep., adv.)) + versus "turned toward or against," past participle of vertere "to turn" (from PIE root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend").

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quodlibet (n.)

"a nicety, subtlety," late 14c., "a question proposed in a university for disputation, on any academic topic," from Medieval Latin, literally "what you will, what you please," from quod "what," neuter of qui (from PIE root *kwo-, stem of relative and interrogative pronouns) + libet "it pleases" (from PIE root *leubh- "to care, desire, love"). Sense evolution is via the notion of "a scholastic argumentation" upon a subject chosen at will (but usually theological). Related: Quodlibetarian; quodlibetic; quodlibetical.

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moderator (n.)

late 14c., moderatour, "that which regulates the movement of the celestial spheres," from Latin moderator "manager, ruler, director," literally "he who moderates," from moderatus "within bounds, observing moderation;" figuratively "modest, restrained," past participle of moderari "to regulate, mitigate, restrain, temper, set a measure, keep (something) within measure," from PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures."

Meaning "one who acts as an arbitrator, person who presides at a meeting or disputation" is from 1560s. Fem. form moderatrix attested from 1530s.

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litigation (n.)

"act of carrying on a lawsuit," 1640s, from Late Latin litigationem (nominative litigatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin litigare "to dispute, quarrel; sue, go to court," from phrase litem agere "to drive a suit," from litem (nominative lis) "lawsuit, dispute, quarrel, strife" (which is of uncertain origin) + agere "to set in motion, drive forward" (from PIE root *ag- "to drive, draw out or forth, move"). The word was earlier in English in a now obsolete sense "disputation" (1560s). Other legal terms in English from Latin lis included litiscontestation (15c.), litispendence (17c.).

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