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

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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 Yes, several times the dialogue mentions the male gaze. Mark Feeney, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Malcolm & Marie’ is thick with he said, she said," 3 Feb. 2021 The new president will surely take a more diplomatic approach that engages more US allies in the region and expands the dialogue with China beyond trade to rules on investment and intellectual property and human rights. Michael Plouffe, Quartz, "Five economic effects from the Democratic sweep in Washington," 14 Jan. 2021 Rosenberg points out that the current intracommunity dialogue in the Jewish community about the presence of Nazis at the riot is some of the only conversation explicitly calling them Nazis. Elly Belle, refinery29.com, "Nazis Stormed The Capitol. Why Are People Afraid To Call Them That?," 8 Jan. 2021 Already under pressure for the treatment of Black head coaching candidates in previous years, this will be the first offseason since racial equality became part of the national dialogue this summer. Jarrett Bell, USA Today, "Eric Bieniemy is ready to be a head coach. Which NFL team will finally take him?," 30 Dec. 2020 Two meetings in 2017 between the pair and Byrd, who was in jail, appear to have been recorded, based on the extensive dialogue cited in the indictment. Justin Fenton, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore lawyer named in case against defense attorney Kenneth Ravenell," 18 Dec. 2020 COVID-19′s disproportionate impact on lower-income residents amplified the public dialogue. Ryan Ori, chicagotribune.com, "COVID-19 has devastated Chicago real estate, but it’s amplified calls for equity. Will 2021 be a year of progress on the South and West sides?," 17 Dec. 2020 Given the national dialogue on race and equality this year, there was reason to believe things would change in baseball. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "'It hurts:' After vowing change, Black candidates shut out again of MLB front office jobs," 16 Dec. 2020 But the dialogue about this series is being sparked because there must be something there. Fidel Martinez, Los Angeles Times, "Latinx Files: The COVID-19 vaccine and its importance to our community," 10 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In a 2009 survey, the usage panel of the American Heritage Dictionary reviewed the following sentence: The department was remiss in not trying to dialogue with representatives of the community before hiring new officers. Jason Kehe, Wired, "The Media Monsters in the National Dialog," 8 July 2020 The strategy of Republican and Democratic Commanders in Chief alike has been to reduce tensions through an openness to dialogue rather than threats to further confrontation. John Walcott, Time, "Pulled Into Yet Another Political Battle, the Pentagon Finally Pushes Back Against Trump," 3 June 2020 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.

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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 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

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Learn More about dialogue

Time Traveler for dialogue

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for dialogue

Last Updated

23 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dialogue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dialogue. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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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