dialogue

noun
di·​a·​logue | \ ˈdī-ə-ˌlȯg How to pronounce dialogue (audio) , -ˌläg \
variants: or less commonly dialog

Definition of dialogue

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a written composition in which two or more characters are represented as conversing
2a : a conversation between two or more persons also : a similar exchange between a person and something else (such as a computer)
b : an exchange of ideas and opinions organized a series of dialogues on human rights
c : a discussion between representatives of parties to a conflict that is aimed at resolution a constructive dialogue between loggers and environmentalists
3 : the conversational element of literary or dramatic composition very little dialogue in this film writes realistic dialogue
4 : a musical composition for two or more parts suggestive of a conversation

dialogue

verb
dialogued; dialoguing

Definition of dialogue (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to express in dialogue … and dialogued for him what he would say …— Shakespeare

intransitive verb

: to take part in a dialogue managers dialoguing with employees

Keep scrolling for more

Dialectic: Logic Through Conversation

Dialectic is a term used in philosophy, and the fact that it is closely connected to the ideas of Socrates and Plato is completely logical—even from an etymological point of view. Plato’s famous dialogues frequently presented Socrates playing a leading role, and dialogue comes from the Greek roots dia- (“through” or “across”) and -logue (“discourse” or “talk”). Dialect and dialectic come from dialecktos (“conversation” or “dialect”) and ultimately back to the Greek word dialegesthai, meaning “to converse.”

Conversation or dialogue was indeed at the heart of the “Socratic method,” through which Socrates would ask probing questions which cumulatively revealed his students’ unsupported assumptions and misconceptions. The goal, according to the definition in our Unabridged Dictionary, was to “elicit a clear and consistent expression of something supposed to be implicitly known by all rational beings.”

Other philosophers had specific uses of the term dialectic, including Aristotelianism, Stoicism, Kantianism, Hegelianism, and Marxism. Asking a series of questions was considered by Socrates a method of “giving birth” to the truth, and a related word, maieutic, defined as “relating to or resembling the Socratic method of eliciting new ideas from another,” comes from the Greek word meaning “of midwifery.”

Examples of dialogue in a Sentence

Noun He is an expert at writing dialogue. There's very little dialogue in the film. The best part of the book is the clever dialogue. Students were asked to read dialogues from the play. The two sides involved in the labor dispute are trying to establish a dialogue. The two parties have been in constant dialogue with each other.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Almost all of the dialogue in Underwater is inscrutable, because the sound mix is dominated by ominous groans and bangs as well as the occasional shrieking jump scare. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Underwater Entertains but Doesn’t Have Much Depth," 9 Jan. 2020 As the rights of LGBTQ individuals have been codified in the courts, so have the aesthetics particular to them been absorbed into the beauty dialogue. National Geographic, "The idea of beauty is always shifting. Today, it’s more inclusive than ever.," 7 Jan. 2020 There is a suggestion of conflict as the devious Macavity (Idris Elba) kidnaps a few of his competitors, but the gestures toward plot and the scant dialogue serve only to introduce new songs and new cats. Daniel Drake, The New York Review of Books, "The Slog Comes in on Little Cat Feet," 4 Jan. 2020 Yet the movie’s energies drop perceptibly in the middle section; lines of dialogue are recited at a sluggish rate, with lengthy pauses, as if the pressure of the presiding theme had numbed the characters’ tongues. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "Paris on the Brink in “Les Misérables”," 3 Jan. 2020 Scorsese has been called out for the character’s lack of dialogue, criticism that is understandable given how movies sideline women. Manohla Dargis, New York Times, "Men Are in Trouble and Hollywood Wants to Help," 20 Dec. 2019 Mari Saito, a Reuters journalist in Japan, said that Ito’s case had opened up a level of dialogue not seen before in Japan. Amy Gunia / Hong Kong, Time, "Journalist in Japan Awarded Damages in a High-Profile #MeToo Case," 18 Dec. 2019 Twenty-five years ago, Israel and the Catholic church signed an agreement stressing reconciliation, trust, the priority of dialogue, all grounded in human rights and religious liberty. Sergio Carmona, sun-sentinel.com, "Program marks 25th anniversary of Vatican’s recognition of Israel," 6 Dec. 2019 The 13-track album includes a lot of the series' eclectic musical offerings, as well as a clip of dialogue. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross' 'Watchmen: Volume 2 (Music From The HBO Series)': Stream It Now," 27 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Perspective sharing will open the gateway to further dialogue that’s based on a true understanding of your desires and your family’s desires. Steven P. Dinkin, San Diego Union-Tribune, "The wedding plan: Perspective sharing," 18 Aug. 2019 But one of the leaders insists that the movement is not opposed to dialogue in principle. The Economist, "The violent end of Daniel Ortega’s decade of quiet," 26 Apr. 2018 Despite their criticisms, both Tillerson and defense officials have stressed the importance of finding a path to dialogue with Moscow. Karen Deyoung, Washington Post, "Putin speech adds to freeze in U.S.-Russia relations," 1 Mar. 2018 Swiss Education While South Korea currently bans tourists from traveling north, the thaw over the Olympics brings the countries closer to dialogue on restoring lucrative cross-border tours that once brought Kim’s regime millions of dollars a year. Bloomberg.com, "Kim Jong Un’s Luxury Ski Resort Steals Olympic Spotlight," 30 Jan. 2018 Maybe the past and present aren’t mutually exclusive, this exhibition suggests, but can dialogue with and inform one another. OregonLive.com, "Tom Cramer exhibit shows there's plenty new under the sun (review)," 29 Oct. 2017 Knowles sisters Beyoncé and Solange have released solo albums that dialogue with each other obliquely. Carl Wilson, Slate Magazine, "On Haim’s New Album Something to Tell You, the Band of Sisters Is Better Than Ever," 10 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dialogue.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of dialogue

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1566, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for dialogue

Noun and Verb

Middle English dialoge, from Anglo-French dialogue, from Latin dialogus, from Greek dialogos, from dialegesthai to converse, from dia- + legein to speak — more at legend

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dialogue

Time Traveler for dialogue

Time Traveler

The first known use of dialogue was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for dialogue

Last Updated

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dialogue.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Dialogues. Accessed 23 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dialogue

dialogue

noun
How to pronounce dialogue (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dialogue

: the things that are said by the characters in a story, movie, play, etc.
: a discussion or series of discussions that two groups or countries have in order to end a disagreement
: a conversation between two or more people

dialogue

noun
di·​a·​logue
variants: also dialog \ ˈdī-​ə-​ˌlȯg \

Kids Definition of dialogue

1 : conversation given in a written story or a play
2 : a conversation between two or more people or groups The dialogue helped avoid a fight.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on dialogue

What made you want to look up dialogue? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

out of the ordinary or unreasonable

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!