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


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

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 McDonagh’s titles, the story is driven by its dialogue—sharply funny bits of conversation that belie unspoken tension. David Sims, The Atlantic, 23 Sep. 2022 This more physical form, while perhaps jarring to a modern audience, is a more authentic realization of the text itself (though this new adaptation by director Jenny Koons can skew too contemporary in its dialogue and turns of phrase). Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, 17 Sep. 2022 That and his relentlessly aw-shucks dialogue ensure a folksiness quotient higher even than Hanks’s adorability quotient. Mark Feeney, BostonGlobe.com, 8 Sep. 2022 Throughout their two-month, off-and-on dialogue with Utah, Cleveland decision-makers were pessimistic. Chris Fedor, cleveland, 6 Sep. 2022 From its acerbic dialogue to Mr. Ghostface's iconic costume to Drew Barrymore's unforgettable appearance, 1996's Scream is impossible to recreate. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, 25 Aug. 2022 Cloud doesn’t alter his voice to play Fez, and additionally works with Levinson to adapt his dialogue into a vernacular that feels more natural to him, heavily impacted by his upbringing in Oakland, Calif. Selome Hailu, Variety, 10 Aug. 2022 The script, from seasoned veteran John Logan, has a number of virtues in its dialogue. Jeff Ewing, Forbes, 8 Aug. 2022 The organ is used in the incense-laden slow movement for its otherworldly low drones and its sensual dialogue with the strings. Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, 5 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Who knows, had Korach and his group agreed to seriously dialogue with Moses, Moses might have calmed them down. Rabbi Avi Weiss, sun-sentinel.com, 7 June 2021 Korach’s cohorts also refused to dialogue with Moses (16:12). Rabbi Avi Weiss, sun-sentinel.com, 7 June 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of dialogue


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


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

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

Dictionary Entries Near dialogue



dialogue de sourds

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for dialogue

Last Updated

27 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dialogue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dialogue. Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for dialogue


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on dialogue

Nglish: Translation of dialogue for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dialogue for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dialogue


Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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