dictate

verb
dic·​tate | \ ˈdik-ˌtāt How to pronounce dictate (audio) , dik-ˈtāt How to pronounce dictate (audio) \
dictated; dictating

Definition of dictate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to utter words to be transcribed : to give dictation dictate for the stenographer
2 : to speak or act domineeringly : prescribe resents being dictated to

transitive verb

1 : to speak or read for a person to transcribe or for a machine to record dictating a letter to her secretary
2a : to issue as an order
b : to impose, pronounce, or specify authoritatively dictate the terms of surrender … the league will dictate policy for all teams …— Alex Yannis
c : to require or determine necessarily injuries dictated the choice of players The weather will dictate how long we stay.

dictate

noun
dic·​tate | \ ˈdik-ˌtāt How to pronounce dictate (audio) \

Definition of dictate (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : an authoritative rule, prescription, or injunction the dictates of the party
b : a ruling principle according to the dictates of your conscience
2 : a command by one in authority papal dictates

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Examples of dictate in a Sentence

Verb She's dictating a letter to her secretary. They insisted on being able to dictate the terms of surrender. Tradition dictates that the youngest member should go first. The basket's function dictates its size and shape. Noun a starchily worded dictate from on high concerning the company's dress code
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Senate rules dictate that impeachment trials begin the day after the House impeachment managers present the article to the upper chamber, although senators can schedule a specific time to receive House managers by unanimous consent. CBS News, "House impeaches Trump for Capitol riot in historic bipartisan rebuke," 14 Jan. 2021 Now BlackRock can’t raise further money until 80% of that money is invested, fund documents dictate. Dawn Lim, WSJ, "BlackRock Scales Back Private-Equity Fund Ambitions," 1 Jan. 2021 Used by health care professionals and policy makers, the guidelines dictate much of what Americans of all ages will eat over the next five years and provide a foundation for federal nutrition programs. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "New US dietary guidelines include babies and toddlers for first time," 29 Dec. 2020 Often, events dictate the direction of our politics. Patrick Condon, Star Tribune, "Disruption defined Minnesota's year in politics," 26 Dec. 2020 However, conference rules also dictate that all players must go through heart testing and physicals before players can return to the court. Zoe Christen Jones, CBS News, "Florida Gators star Keyontae Johnson in stable condition after collapsing on court," 15 Dec. 2020 Gender stereotypes and social norms dictate women’s choices and entry into different professions. Lisa Deaderick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Women suffer higher unemployment during pandemic, thanks in part to systemic inequality and stereotypes," 6 Dec. 2020 Los Angeles County public health guidelines dictate that anyone deemed to be in close contact with a person who tested positive must isolate for 14 days. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, "USC resumes football workouts after coronavirus shutdown," 1 Dec. 2020 With right guard Wyatt Teller back, the Browns dictate games upfront. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, "Why the Cleveland Browns have the best offensive line in football: Ellis L. Williams," 1 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Typically, all members of Congress were forced to take or leave the near-trillion-dollar dictate without time to read the thousands of pages, much less study them. John Brummett, Arkansas Online, "From the center out," 27 Dec. 2020 Two days after the league loosened its indoor spectator rules, some fans defied the conference dictate for cross-country races and showed up at Eagan High School for the conference championship meet. Paul Klauda, Star Tribune, "Cross-country section championship keeps parents from attending in person," 21 Oct. 2020 Think seeding dictates who wins the state championship? Matt Goul, cleveland, "OHSAA football playoff expansion in 2021 is next step of evolving the sport," 21 May 2020 As Newton’s third law of motion dictates, every action is met with an equal and opposite reaction — and the experience of birth and postpartum offers no exception. Sandy Jorgenson, refinery29.com, "I Was Diagnosed With Cancer During My 4th Trimester," 19 May 2020 On Thursday, a Trump administration official also speaking on condition of anonymity said there were concerns about the propriety of the government making specific dictates to places of worship. Mike Stobbe, Anchorage Daily News, "US officials release edited coronavirus reopening guidance after delays," 14 May 2020 The protesters have mainly focused their ire toward Lam, who has little choice but to carry through dictates issued by Beijing. Washington Post, "Protesters demand that embattled Hong Kong leader resign," 17 June 2019 With the utmost diligence, Susan calibrates herself according to contemporary dictates of femininity. Longreads, "“The Leaky Vessel”: On Lewis Carroll and the Perils of Being Female," 27 Mar. 2020 Doctors are a famously independent profession, where individual medical judgment on what’s best for the patient is prized over administrative dictates. Olivia Carville, Fortune, "Hospitals tell doctors they’ll be fired if they speak out about lack of gear," 31 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dictate.' 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 dictate

Verb

1577, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun

1582, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for dictate

Verb

borrowed from Latin dictātus, past participle of dictāre "to say repeatedly, speak aloud words to be transcribed by another, issue as an order," frequentative of dīcere "to talk, speak, say, utter" — more at diction

Note: See note at dictator.

Noun

borrowed from Medieval Latin dictātum "something commanded" (Latin, in plural dictāta "lessons to be transcribed"), noun derivative from neuter of Latin dictātus, past participle of dictāre "to say repeatedly, say aloud words to be transcribed by another, issue as an order" — more at dictate entry 1

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Time Traveler for dictate

Time Traveler

The first known use of dictate was in 1577

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Statistics for dictate

Last Updated

23 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dictate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dictate. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for dictate

dictate

verb
How to pronounce dictate (audio) How to pronounce dictate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dictate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to speak or read (something) to a person who writes it down or to a machine that records it
: to say or state (something) with authority or power
: to make (something) necessary

dictate

noun
How to pronounce dictate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dictate (Entry 2 of 2)

formal
: an order or direction given with authority
: a rule or principle that guides something (such as an activity or a person's behavior)

dictate

verb
dic·​tate | \ ˈdik-ˌtāt How to pronounce dictate (audio) \
dictated; dictating

Kids Definition of dictate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to speak or read for someone else to write down or for a machine to record dictate a letter
2 : to say or state with authority : order You can't dictate what I can do.
3 : to make necessary Tradition dictates that we go first.

dictate

noun

Kids Definition of dictate (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an order or direction given with authority : command
2 : a guiding rule or principle She ignores the dictates of fashion.

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Comments on dictate

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