Dictionary of Debate and Public Speaking

Dictionary of Debate and Public Speaking

Dictionary of Debate and Public Speaking

Dictionary of Debate and Public Speaking


The Dictionary of Debate and Public Speaking contains over 600 terms and concepts associated with debate and public speaking. Designed for debaters, coaches, and judges, its scope is international, and it includes terms from a wide variety of debate formats. The emphasis is practical; entries provide the user not only a detailed definition of each term but also examples of how the term would be used in debate. Definitions are nuanced so that the user can distinguish how the term is defined and used in a variety of formats.


(American Policy Debate)—an additional advantage to the affirmative plan; it is presented in the second constructive speech.

ad hominem—short for argumentum ad hominem; sometimes abbreviated as ad hom. A fallacy in which the speaker attacks the person making the argument rather than the argument itself. (“Thomas Jefferson owned slaves! We shouldn’t listen to his defense of limited government.”)

adjournment (Congressional Debate)—the conclusion of a debate session. A motion to adjourn is not debatable and requires a majority vote.

adjusted speaker points—the speaker point total accrued by a team after its high and low performances have been factored out. For instance, a team that is awarded 330 total speaker points over six rounds would have 220 high-low points after its high (58 points in one round) and its low (52 points in another round) are subtracted. Most tournaments prefer high-low points to total points as a means of determining awards and seeding.

ADSSee after-dinner speaking

advantage (American Policy Debate)—a significant improvement over the status quo that can best be achieved by the affirmative plan. An affirmative case usually presents one or more advantages. For example: “The plan will . . .

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