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For some reason, I imagine the difference is quite significant, but in which two directions do these verbs (辩论 and 吵架) go? How do they differ?

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  • see dictionaries, e.g. bkrs, 吵架 to quarrel to have a row 辩论 argue; debate: 吵架 syn. 相关: 争吵, 吵, 口角, 吵嘴, 斗嘴, 拌嘴, 口舌, 扯皮, 抬杠, 抬 辩论 syn.同义: 争辩, 声辩, 申辩, 答辩 相关: 争论, 争辩, 争鸣, 力排众议, 反驳, 回驳, 声辩, 理论, 申辩, 答辩, 置辩, 舌战, 讲理, 论争, 论战, 论理, 说理, 辩, 辩护, 辩解, 辩驳, 驳, 驳斥,"汉语同义词词典" only has the pair 辩论/争辩
    – user6065
    Dec 24 '18 at 0:40
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  • 辯論 means to debate.

  • 吵架 means to quarrel.

They both mean to argue, but 辯論 is more about presenting logical arguments in a cool, calm and collected manner in an attempt to derive a conclusion from an intellectual problem, while 吵架 is a chaotic and emotional argument with people getting upset.

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辩论=debate

a formal discussion of an issue at a public meetingor in a parliament. In a debate two or more speakers express opposing views and then there isoften a vote on the issue.

吵架=quarrel (with sb/betwecn A and B) (aboul/ oversth) an angry argument or disagreement betweenpeople, often about a personal matter

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