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 His specialty is not just rat-a-tat dialogue but a battle of ideas, in which both the rat and the tat are equipped with a point of principle. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "Aaron Sorkin Puts America on Trial," 17 Oct. 2020 Particularly during this contentious presidential election, private and public dialogue around race feels omnipresent in America. NBC News, "Amy Coney Barrett's hearing shines a spotlight on multirace families," 16 Oct. 2020 Like second-tier John Wayne westerns, Neeson offers enough of what his fans want, but a thin script and stilted dialogue make the battle harder than usual. Brian Lowry, CNN, "Liam Neeson doesn't steal much more than your time in 'Honest Thief'," 16 Oct. 2020 Destro will be responsible for advancing dialogue between Beijing and the Dalai Lama and protecting the religious, cultural and linguistic identity of Tibetans, the State Department said. Bloomberg.com, "China Defends Tibet Labor Practices as U.S. Increases Scrutiny," 15 Oct. 2020 At the time, the coronavirus pandemic was spreading quickly, and protests against racial injustice and police brutality were opening up a national dialogue. Rosy Cordero, EW.com, "Stacey Abrams on why Janelle Monáe's 'Turntables' is the anthem for this moment," 14 Oct. 2020 In your work with Imani Winds, there is none of that dialogue across centuries, because the group is committed to music of the present. New York Times, "A Flutist Steps Into the Solo Spotlight," 13 Oct. 2020 Gandhi believed instead in peaceful means, like dialogue, to effect social change. Steven P. Dinkin, San Diego Union-Tribune, "The shortsightedness of tit-for-tat thinking," 11 Oct. 2020 Third, wouldn’t this system limit Twitter and Facebook’s value as a real-time source of conversation, chilling speech and closing off public dialogue? Mike Ananny, Wired, "Put Trump's Tweets on a Time Delay," 9 Oct. 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

20 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dialogue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dialogue. Accessed 31 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for dialogue

dialogue

noun
How to pronounce dialogue (audio)

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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