dialogue

noun
di·​a·​logue | \ˈdī-ə-ˌlȯg, -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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The two are co-founders of unloadusa.org, a nonprofit organization that uses and encourages artistic expression to open dialogue about gun culture. Susan Dunne, courant.com, "Artists #UNLOAD In Gun Exhibit At Fairfield University," 26 June 2018 Both of us are interested in ways that opening interdisciplinary dialogue between the sciences, humanities, and Indigenous knowledge systems could help build stronger understandings of the world around us. Smithsonian, "Andean Solstice Celebrations Capture the Wondrous Churn of Spacetime," 22 June 2018 But South Korean President Moon Jae-in played a key role in opening the dialogue and getting things back on track after Trump cancelled the meeting last month. Fortune, "Still Confused about the Trump-Kim Summit? 12 Pressing Questions, Answered," 13 June 2018 Experts also acknowledge that 13 Reasons Why did come with teachable moments and opened a dialogue surrounding suicide and other difficult experiences that young adults face that often get brushed aside. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Here’s What 7 Mental Health Experts Really Think About ‘13 Reasons Why’," 9 May 2018 Instead, most see it as a way to restart an official dialogue that has broken down in recent years. The Economist, "Vladimir Putin’s hopes for his long-awaited meeting with Donald Trump," 14 July 2018 There’s some optional dialogue where Cyrus the professor might ask Tressa about some new gemstones she’s found, but that’s about it. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Octopath Traveler is a modern take on classic Final Fantasy on the Nintendo Switch," 12 July 2018 From Takada’s precise and serene score, Lafawndah wrote lyrics that are essentially a dialogue between herself and the fox. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Two Generations of Experimental Musical Artists Join Forces for a Dreamy New Kenzo Video," 12 July 2018 Actor Richard Costas, who is deaf, and dialogue coach Sammi Grant, who is visually impaired, both write about accessibility within Chicago and how the theater community can be improved for people with disabilities. Katie Powers, Chicago Reader, "Arts / Media / Theater Profiles abuse scandal inspires new magazine examining Chicago theater," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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.

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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

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

Verb

see dialogue entry 1

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Learn More about dialogue

Statistics for dialogue

Last Updated

2 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dialogue

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

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More Definitions for dialogue

dialogue

noun

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.

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Comments on dialogue

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