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

But the dialogue, staging, and acting in this subplot were some of the weakest of the show. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "'Star Trek: Discovery' Is All About Friendship and Death This Week," 8 Feb. 2019 Whereas once the conversation was largely focused on the show, the project, or elements of their personal lives, so much of the dialogue now rests in cultural commentary, which isn’t, innately, a bad thing. Elizabeth Kiefer, Glamour, "Giuliana Rancic's New Plan: Let Celebrities Talk About—Gasp—Themselves," 11 Sep. 2018 Maxim Suchkov, a foreign policy expert with ties to the foreign ministry, told the RBC newspaper that the delegation’s visit aimed to bring the Republican Party into line on the importance of dialogue with Russia, a policy supported by Mr. Trump. Nicholas Fandos, New York Times, "How Fraught Is Meeting With Russia? Just Ask Republican Senators," 10 July 2018 Isaac was a jerk who hit Janine in the jaw with his rifle butt, was rude to June and Rita, had somewhat more lines of dialogue than Boba Fett and was somewhat less compelling. Rena Gross, Billboard, "'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 2, Episode 12 Recap: 15 Reactions to 'Postpartum'," 4 July 2018 This isn’t the first time that The King’s choice of dialogue has caused a stir. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "Creepy Burger King mascot speaks his first word thanks to Budweiser. Asks "Whassup!?"," 27 June 2018 While every loss is different and there are no lines of dialogue that will apply to everyone, suicide bereavement counselors do have some recommendations for what to say in this awful circumstance—and what not to say too. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "7 Things to Say When a Friend’s Loved One Dies by Suicide (and 3 to Avoid)," 5 Feb. 2019 Even the old man who has all the dialogue barely changes his facial expressions. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Nancy, a 1930s comic strip, was the funniest thing I read in 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 Hall's eye-rolls and audible sighs as the only woman in the room anchors the show to a tenuous set of morals, or even politics, and serves as a layer of 2019 self-awareness placed over the 1987 locker room dialogue. Bridget Read, Vogue, "Black Monday on Showtime: Maybe Wall Street Isn't Funny Anymore," 21 Jan. 2019

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 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

Statistics for dialogue

Last Updated

9 Mar 2019

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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