dictate

verb
dic·​tate | \ˈdik-ˌtāt, dik-ˈ \
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 \

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

And the entire thing is masterfully puppeteered by Zaytoven, who dictates Future’s emotional fluidity at will, pushing and pulling his collaborator to varying heights at a moment’s notice. Will Schube, Billboard, "Zaytoven and Future Are Just Like Bruddas on 'Beast Mode 2'," 9 July 2018 Italian regulations dictate that Juventus will have to pay the same amount again in tax. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Ronaldo Leaves Real Madrid to Join Juventus," 10 July 2018 White privilege and supremacy dictate that whiteness itself is superior, or at the very least neutral. refinery29.com, "Sorry To Bother You," 10 July 2018 At three critical junctures in his career, James dictated the terms of his employment to the league’s billionaire owners. Dylan Scott, Vox, "LeBron James and the NBA teach us a lot about labor in America," 6 July 2018 At the time, the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 dictated that the Fed, not Treasury, was responsible for dealing with banking crises, especially as lender of last resort. George Melloan, WSJ, "‘The Fed and Lehman Brothers’ Review: When the Bailouts Stopped," 1 July 2018 Apparently, Kim Kardashian West and her tiny-sunglasses-memo-writing husband Kanye West are the ones dictating the world’s eyewear, because ever since Yeezy started doing Oakley-esque cycling frames, the rest have followed. Emilia Petrarca, The Cut, "10 Menswear Trends That Are Going to Be Really, Truly, Unbelievably Huge Next Spring," 27 June 2018 If FC Cincinnati can enter the match bossing the possession and tempo from kickoff, the visitors should dictate play and earn another road win. Charlie Hatch, Cincinnati.com, "Toronto FC II vs. FC Cincinnati scouting report," 26 June 2018 City policy dictates that students with 30 or more absences in a class should fail, and the legislation would have delayed stringent enforcement of the attendance policy until the 2018-2019 academic year. Fenit Nirappil, Washington Post, "In first-ever veto, Bowser denies diplomas to chronically absent students," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Preckwinkle, who lives in Hyde Park, where politicians have long declared themselves independent from party dictates, has a working relationship with Garcia, who serves as her County Board floor leader. Hal Dardick, chicagotribune.com, "Toni Preckwinkle expected to ascend to Cook County Democratic chairman today," 18 Apr. 2018 Under Taliban rule in the late 1990s, they were told to identify themselves by wearing yellow armbands, but the dictate was not wholly enforced. Rahim Faiez, chicagotribune.com, "Suicide bomber targets Sikhs, Hindus in Afghanistan; 19 dead," 1 July 2018 But the end product doesn’t distinguish between responses on the creative, corporate or retail side, or the mass market versus the designer sector, which logic dictates have some different structural challenges. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "Fashion’s Woman Problem," 20 May 2018 All Birmingham locations of Edgar's Bakery will be closing early as weather dictates, according to the Edgar's Facebook page. Bob Carlton, AL.com, "Which Birmingham restaurants are open or closed as snow moves in?," 16 Jan. 2018 The imperative of conservative journalists to support Trump is strong, driven by their audience’s demand, by their longstanding alliance with the Republican Party, and often, as in the case of Sinclair and Salem, by the dictates of employers. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "The Scourge of Trumpism in Conservative Journalism," 14 May 2018 The dictates of modesty called for floor-length dresses, and fashion demanded a full skirt beneath a tiny waist. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "Amelia Bloomer Didn’t Mean to Start a Fashion Revolution, But Her Name Became Synonymous With Trousers," 24 May 2018 Abandoning her training by Boas, and ignoring the dictates of both honesty and history, Hurston forsook the opportunity to record the story of another survivor. Casey N. Cep, The New Yorker, "Zora Neale Hurston’s Story of a Former Slave Finally Comes to Print," 7 May 2018 In his own words, Patterson is antagonistic to women who do not order their lives after his dictates. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "The Religious Right’s #MeToo Reckoning Is Coming," 30 May 2018

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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Statistics for dictate

Last Updated

3 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dictate

The first known use of dictate was in 1577

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More Definitions for dictate

dictate

verb

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

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

: 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 \
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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obstinately defiant of authority

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