dialogue

1 of 2

noun

di·​a·​logue ˈdī-ə-ˌlȯg How to pronounce dialogue (audio)
-ˌläg
variants or less commonly dialog
1
: a written composition in which two or more characters are represented as conversing
2
a
: 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

2 of 2

verb

dialogued; dialoguing

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

Did you know?

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
Instead of Abbott’s pouring over $10 billion into razor wire and personnel on the border (to treat the symptom), let’s open dialogue with Mexico and Central America to provide safe and livable environments at the source of the problem so their citizens want to stay there (to cure the disease). Harrison Mantas, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 15 Feb. 2024 Learning how to understand the other person’s position and to respectfully argue your own point of view can go a long way toward better relationships, a better society and more respectful dialogues. Larry Magid, The Mercury News, 15 Feb. 2024 To create a respectful dialogue rather than an interrogation, Kaplan recommends starting from a vulnerable place. Lauren Schwahn Of Nerdwallet, Quartz, 13 Feb. 2024 There was not a lot of dialogue with the Israeli Defense Forces contacts before this embed happened. Michael Tobin, Fox News, 12 Feb. 2024 An open dialogue between industry leaders and policymakers is essential to develop regulations that support the sustainable growth of the industry. Kameel Gaines, Forbes, 16 Feb. 2024 Though much of the movie’s dialogue was written in the script, Gordon transformed it drastically, and that transformation is self-evident in Dale’s sharp, savvy vocabulary and witty turns of phrase. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 15 Feb. 2024 There wasn’t much dialogue in the trailer, but there was one musical moment in particular that prompted a conversation on social media. Moises Mendez Ii, TIME, 12 Feb. 2024 Co-creators, Donald Glover and Francesca Sloane explore the character’s romance with sardonic dialogue and dark comedy to keep us on edge. Malik Peay, Essence, 2 Feb. 2024
Verb
Some parts seemed easier to dialogue with than others. Laura Newberry, Los Angeles Times, 19 Dec. 2023 And do the living and dead continue to dialogue? Hamilton Cain, WSJ, 17 Jan. 2022 Visitors are encouraged to dialogue with artists whose works-in-progress are on view June 4 through June 25. Matt Cooperlistings Coordinator, Los Angeles Times, 1 June 2022 How might our politics look different if sincerity claims were an invitation to dialogue rather than a conversation-stopper? Charles McCrary, The New Republic, 4 Apr. 2022 Be sure to regularly dialogue with your employees about stress management and burnout, formally through surveys and informally through check-ins. Naz Beheshti, Forbes, 5 Jan. 2022 In behind-the-scenes footage shared to her Story, El Moussa and Richards lip synched along to dialogue from her Netflix show. Greta Bjornson, PEOPLE.com, 4 Feb. 2022 There will be time at the end of the program for audience members to dialogue with the performers. Lisa Deaderick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Oct. 2021 Typically done after a project is completed, snapshots enable managers to dialogue with employees about their performance while the project is still top of mind. Lisa Bodell, Forbes, 29 Sep. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dialogue.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1566, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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

Dictionary Entries Near dialogue

Cite this Entry

“Dialogue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dialogue. Accessed 20 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

dialogue

noun
di·​a·​logue
variants also dialog
ˈdī-ə-ˌlȯg,
-ˌläg
1
: a conversation between two or more persons
2
: conversation given in a written story or play

More from Merriam-Webster on dialogue

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