A Partial Glossary of Essential APDA Jargon
Ballot - The sheet used to award the decision, speaker points, and ranks during a round.
Bracket – A group of teams with the same win/loss record at a given point in a tournament. For instance, after the second round there will be a 2-0 bracket, a 1-1 bracket, and a 0-2 bracket. After the first round, teams will be paired against teams within their brackets (the top team in a given bracket will hit the bottom team in that bracket, and so on).
Break – The top teams after the five preliminary rounds (or "in-rounds") at a tournament will “break” (or “be in the break”) to elimination rounds (or "out-rounds"), usually to varsity quarterfinals and novice semifinals.
Bubble Round – A bubble round is a fifth round in which the winner will (almost certainly) break and the loser will (almost certainly) not. These are typically rounds in the 3-1 bracket.
Dino – A dino is someone who has graduated but continues to be active on APDA (judging or debating; whether or not to allow dinos to debate has been a controversial issue recently).
Drop/Pick Up – If your judge decides you’ve lost, you’ve “dropped”; if he/she decides you’ve won, you’ve “picked up.”
GA/JA – “GA” stands for “General Assembly”; “JA” stands for “Judges’ Assembly.” They’re just the lecture halls where debaters and judges spend their time between rounds and where pairings are announced.
Hit - To debate against another team. Example: "We hit a West Point team last round."
Hybrid - A team consisting of two debaters from different schools.
Ironman - A team consisting of only one debater. Ironman teams are usually not allowed to register for a tournament, but may appear mid-tournament if a debater drops out due to illness, a family emergency, or any other reason.
Novice/Varsity – Novice debaters are in their first year of debate (or are in their second year and debated three or fewer times in their first year); varsity debaters are everyone else.
On/Off Case – “Off case” refers to the opp side of the flow; “on case” is the gov side. You can say you’re moving from the former to the latter in your speech by saying you’re “going case-side.”
OTY – This stands for “of the Year”; NOTY (Novice), SOTY (Speaker), TOTY (Team), and COTY (College) are awards (given out at Nationals each year) to which debaters and schools can aspire. Debaters can earn points toward these awards by doing well at tournaments throughout the year (or only during the second semester for NOTY); points are determined by a debater’s placement among the top-finishing speakers and teams at a tournament and by the size of the tournament.
Pair(ings) – “Pairings” refers to the list of all the teams that will be debating each other in a given round. Teams are “paired” against each other.
Pull-up - A team that gets "pulled up" to a higher bracket when that higher bracket has an uneven number of teams.
Qual – To qualify to attend Nationals, the last tournament of the year. This is accomplished by accumulating 14 TOTY points (for the purposes of quals, TOTY points are assigned to individual debaters).
Seed – Seeds help determine how the first round will be paired. There are three types: full seeds (both members have qualled), half seeds (one member has qualled), and free seeds (every school at a tournament can give a free seed to one of its teams). Seeds are protected from hitting each other in the first round of debate; if they make up more than half the field they’re protected from hitting other seeds in that descending order (full, half, free).
Speak/Speaks: "To speak" refers to the process of earning speaker points during a tournament. Debaters will often say things like "we're speaking pretty well at this tournament" or "that was a low-speaks round."
Tab – The tab room is where tournament pairings and results are tabulated.