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debate (v.)

late 14c., "to quarrel, dispute," also "to combat, fight, make war" (senses now archaic), 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.)).

And he began for to debate; He smote þe porter. ["Robert of Sicily," c. 1500]

Transitive sense of "to contend about in argument" is from mid-15c.; that of "argue for or against in public" is from 1520s. Related: Debated; debating.

debate (n.)

early 14c., "a quarrel, dispute, disagreement" (now archaic), from Old French debat, from debatre(see debate (v.)). Sense of "contention by argument" is from late 14c., that of "a formal dispute, a debating contest, interchange of arguments in a somewhat formal manner" is perhaps from early 15c.

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Definitions of debate from WordNet
1
debate (v.)
argue with one another;
We debated the question of abortion
John debated Mary
debate (v.)
think about carefully; weigh;
Synonyms: consider / moot / turn over / deliberate
debate (v.)
discuss the pros and cons of an issue;
Synonyms: deliberate
debate (v.)
have an argument about something;
Synonyms: argue / contend / fence
2
debate (n.)
a discussion in which reasons are advanced for and against some proposition or proposal;
Synonyms: argument / argumentation
debate (n.)
the formal presentation of a stated proposition and the opposition to it (usually followed by a vote);
Synonyms: disputation / public debate
From wordnet.princeton.edu