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

Essential Meaning of dialogue

1 : the things that are said by the characters in a story, movie, play, etc. He is an expert at writing dialogue. There's very little dialogue in the film. See More ExamplesThe best part of the book is the clever dialogue. Students were asked to read dialogues from the play.Hide
2 formal : a discussion or series of discussions that two groups or countries have in order to end a disagreement 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.
3 : a conversation between two or more people They had a lengthy dialogue [=(more commonly) talk] about her plans for college.

Full 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

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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 German government’s purpose for the Mann House is as a safe space where transatlantic dialogue can produce togetherness. Los Angeles Times, 18 Oct. 2021 But this idea of mixing these languages, these cultures, these viewpoints together, and creating this dialogue. Condé Nast Traveler, 15 Oct. 2021 Health advocates lobbying Hollywood say TV shows should be doing more to normalize Covid-19 vaccines by addressing them in plot, dialogue or small details. Ellen Gamerman, WSJ, 15 Oct. 2021 From the beginning, Sjón and I decided to have as little dialogue as possible. Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 15 Oct. 2021 Ra has a gift for natural, easy-flowing and humor-filled monologue and dialogue, but his writing for Mykal is far more interesting and funny than the monologues written for Michael. San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 Oct. 2021 Rather, the grating voice work and childish dialogue (69 jokes, really?) draw attention away from the more compelling aspects of the story. Erik Kain, Forbes, 15 Oct. 2021 The mantralike repetition evoked an entire psychology, an inner dialogue that blurred into a kind of fog of being. Susan Dominus Photographs By Joshua Kissi Styled By Ian Bradley Sasha Weiss Photographs By Collier Schorr Styled By Jay Massacret Megan O’grady Portrait By Mickalene Thomas And Racquel Chevremont Ligaya Mishan Photographs By Tina Barney, New York Times, 14 Oct. 2021 The idea of quotable dialogue could also be thrown into question. Washington Post, 14 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Across the border in Mali, the country’s transitional government has signaled openness to dialogue with insurgents. Shola Lawal, The Christian Science Monitor, 29 Apr. 2021 Hottle, a newcomer child star and a deaf actress, portrays Jia, a young girl in Godzilla vs. Kong who can dialogue with the king of the apes through sign language. Nick Romano, EW.com, 25 Mar. 2021 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, 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, 3 June 2020

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


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

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Time Traveler for dialogue

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near dialogue



dialogue de sourds

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Statistics for dialogue

Last Updated

21 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dialogue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dialogue. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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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


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