Another word for formally discuss is debate. Cheese lovers often debate the merits of gorgonzola, triple creme brie and gouda. Of course, they need to accompany their arguments with a taste test!

A debate is a kind of respectful, well reasoned argument over opposing points of view, although tensions can run high and voices can be raised. In fact, the verb evolved from the Old French debatre, meaning “to fight.” Most formal debates, during a political campaign for example, keep the battles to a minimum. But if you find yourself in the midst of a debate between a Red Sox fan and a Yankees fan, things could get ugly!

Definitions of debate

n a discussion in which reasons are advanced for and against some proposition or proposal

argument, argumentation
argument about words or the meaning of words
Type of:
discussion, give-and-take, word
an exchange of views on some topic

n the formal presentation of a stated proposition and the opposition to it (usually followed by a vote)

disputation, public debate
Type of:
oral presentation, public speaking, speaking, speechmaking
delivering an address to a public audience

v discuss the pros and cons of an issue

subject to prolonged examination, discussion, or deliberation
Type of:
discuss, hash out, talk over
speak with others about (something); talk (something) over in detail; have a discussion

v argue with one another

“We debated the question of abortion”
“John debated Mary”
Type of:
consider, deliberate, moot, turn over
think about carefully; weigh

v have an argument about something

argue, contend, fence
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dispute or argue stubbornly (especially minor points)
fight verbally
bicker, brabble, niggle, pettifog, quibble, squabble
argue over petty things
altercate, argufy, dispute, quarrel, scrap
have a disagreement over something
be against; express opposition to
brawl, wrangle
to quarrel noisily, angrily or disruptively
engage in a brief and petty quarrel
polemicise, polemicize, polemise, polemize
engage in a controversy
fall out
have a breach in relations
contend, contest, repugn
to make the subject of dispute, contention, or litigation
Type of:
converse, discourse
carry on a conversation

v think about carefully; weigh

consider, deliberate, moot, turn over
consider, study
give careful consideration to
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deliberate or decide
consider, ponder, or plan (an action) beforehand
engage in deep thought, consideration, or debate
think twice
consider and reconsider carefully
Type of:
discuss, hash out, talk over
speak with others about (something); talk (something) over in detail; have a discussion