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[dih-bey-tuh-buh l] /dɪˈbeɪ tə bəl/
open to question; in dispute; doubtful:
Whether or not he is qualified for the job is debatable.
capable of being debated.
Origin of debatable
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Middle French. See debate, -able
Related forms
nondebatable, adjective
undebatable, adjective
1. questionable, dubious, arguable, disputable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for debatable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Since that was a debatable point on which the Commission had no jurisdiction to inquire, I returned no answer.

  • My hotel stands in the debatable land between the two districts.

    Gossamer George A. Birmingham
  • There is an ominous look to these pretentious establishments holding strategic points in this or that debatable territory.

    A Wayfarer in China Elizabeth Kendall
  • It is also an abandonment of the pretence that the question is not a debatable or open one.

    The Story of My Life Egerton Ryerson
  • Maurice did not attack him, but captured the keys of the debatable land of Cleves and Juliers.

British Dictionary definitions for debatable


open to question; disputable
(law) in dispute, as land or territory to which two parties lay claim
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for debatable

1530s (late 15c. in Anglo-Latin), from Old French debatable (Modern French débattable), from debatre (see debate (v.)). Earliest references were to lands claimed by two nations; general sense is from 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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