dialogue

noun
di·​a·​logue | \ˈdī-ə-ˌlȯg, -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

That draft, eventually known as House Bill 499, was defeated, but a comment made by a state legislator in the process gained attention and sparked a dialogue about the then-17-year-old’s efforts. Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "19-Year-Old Election Winner Cassandra Levesque Is Ready to Shake Up New Hampshire's State Legislature, the Oldest in the Country," 5 Dec. 2018 Partnering with them to encourage a dialogue of equality and possibility makes so much sense. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Céline Dion has a new gender-neutral clothing line for kids," 16 Nov. 2018 The concept is simple: to facilitate a dialogue between perpetrator and survivor, allowing both sides to talk openly. Isobel Yeung, Glamour, "For Some Sexual Assault Survivors, Justice Looks Like a Sit-Down With Their Assailant," 16 Oct. 2018 Qin’s sentence also comes just a day after the EU and China concluded a human rights dialogue. Christopher Bodeen, BostonGlobe.com, "China sentences veteran rights activist to 13 years in prison," 11 July 2018 Similarly, a national dialogue about the disproportionate punishment of black and brown children in schools has drawn attention to an issue that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. Jack Schneider, The Atlantic, "The Problem With Generalizing About ‘America’s Schools’," 5 July 2018 Robert Dawkins, another panelist and member of the activist group NC SAFE Coalition, said Mayfield's tweet was necessary to start a dialogue on relations between police and the community. Lavendrick Smith, charlotteobserver, "'Move beyond the stinging words.' Forum tries to improve police-community ties.," 22 June 2018 Chamber music also has been an important influence on the way people make music now, embracing the new ideas of others and having an open dialogue on the stage. Melinda Bargreen, The Seattle Times, "Seattle Symphony’s opening night marks 2 milestones," 10 Sep. 2018 These characters rarely had any lines, were stripped of any internal dialogue, and often embodied anti-Asian racist stereotypes. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "How "Crazy Rich Asians" Is Making History as a Romantic Comedy," 9 Aug. 2018

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

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

Verb

see dialogue entry 1

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Learn More about dialogue

Statistics for dialogue

Last Updated

14 Dec 2018

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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