Debate Terms Glossary

Debate Terms Glossary

A list of debate-specific terms and abbreviations you may come across:

OG / OO / CG / CO: The teams within a BP debate; opening government, opening opposition, closing government, and closing opposition

Prep Time: The time before a debate and after a motion is given. Can vary anywhere from 6 months to 5 minutes depending on the format.

Point of Information (POI): A short (less than 10 seconds) interjection by the other team while someone is speaking. It is phrased as a question and the debater currently speaking has the choice between declining or accepting the other team’s POI.

Point of Order: A query on whether the correct debate procedure is being followed. Typically made to draw attention to a rule violation.

Point of Clarification: A short interjection made by the other team to clarify something the currently debating team said.

Motion: the topic being argued, also called resolution

Model: A team’s proposed policies and definitions. Typically made the proposition.

Proposition: The team for the motion, also known as government.

Opposition: The team against the motion

House: Each side of the motion (ie your team is your house)

Adjudicator: The person judging and potentially scoring the debate

Chair: The person controlling the debate

Squirreling: Defining a motion unfairly. Certain formats may have motions that are intentionally squirrable, such as quotes, which allow the proposition to define it creatively.

Barracking: Offering POIs too quickly in an attempt to disrupt the opponent’s debate flow, also known as brigading. Not a good practice.

Knifing: When a closing team contradicts another team on their own side, generally not permissible in parliamentary debate.

Sliming: When the last speaker brings up a new point that the opposition is unable to reply to. Heavily frowned upon.

Cross Examination: Period of time where debaters ask questions to the opponent regarding their arguments.

Burden of Proof(s): The point(s) each team has to prove in order to win the argument

Rebuttal: A counter to the argument of the other team.

Prebuttal: A counter to an argument the other team may potentially make.

Protected Time: The time at the start and end of a speech in certain formats in which no POI can be given.

Unprotected Time: The time in a debate during which the other team is allowed to ask POIs.