early 14c., "a quarrel, dispute, disagreement," from Old French debat; see debate (v.). Sense of "a formal dispute, a debating contest, interchange of arguments in a somewhat formal manner" is perhaps from early 15c.
late 14c., "to quarrel, dispute," also "discuss, deliberate upon the pros and cons of," from Old French debatre (13c., Modern French débattre), originally "to fight," from de- "down, completely" (see de-) + batre "to beat," from Latin battuere "beat" (see batter (v.)). Related: Debated; debating.
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