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

Kroos will be key this season in dictating the tempo of the game, as well as creating chances for the new forwards. SI.com, "Real Madrid: The XI That Should Start Against Villarreal," 31 Aug. 2019 The reality is that - what -- under my Medicare for All plan, yes, employers are not going to be able to dictate the kind of healthcare that their employees get. NBC News, "Democratic debate transcript: July 31, 2019," 1 Aug. 2019 The reality is that under my Medicare for all plan, yes, employers are not going to be able to dictate the kind of healthcare their employees get. Jordan Culver, USA TODAY, "'A bunch of malarkey!' Joe Biden uses familiar phrase to fight back against Kamala Harris," 31 July 2019 Needing a point to make certain of top spot, Croatia dominated early on, with Real Madrid pair Modric and Mateo Kovacic dictating the tempo without creating clear chances. Peter Murphy, chicagotribune.com, "Iceland crash out of World Cup after Croatia loss," 26 June 2018 Your antics on the field at practice or games can dictate the behavior of the rest of the kids. Bird Brown, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Bird Brown: Life lessons can be learned through sports," 18 Aug. 2019 Still, punter Braden Mann said the players can get better at not letting outsiders dictate their outlooks, no matter a game’s outcome. Brent Zwerneman, ExpressNews.com, "Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher tells team to get off social media during camp," 13 Aug. 2019 Custom dictates that Mr Mattarella should consult his predecessors, the speakers of both houses, and the leaders of Italy’s parliamentary groups to decide what to do next. The Economist, "Italy’s government is on the brink of collapse," 9 Aug. 2019 The lease dictates that Milwaukee World Festival pay $134,392 this year in a supplemental service fee — less than one-fifth the actual cost. Alison Dirr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Barrett calls for Summerfest to pay full security costs of multi-day event," 8 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The death knell for the Verizon-Tumblr union came in fall 2018, when Tumblr, following the dictates of Apple’s content guidelines for the Apple Store, banned all adult content from the site. Aja Romano, Vox, "WordPress could give Tumblr the thing it needs most: stability," 13 Aug. 2019 The larger had more than five times the mass of the sun, and physics dictates that something this massive which is generating no starlight to counteract the pull of its gravity must be a black hole. The Economist, "Gravitational astronomy proves its maturity," 22 Aug. 2019 Essentially, the deal was that the farmer would supply the chicken coop and care for the chickens according to the dictates of the company. Thomas Heath, Washington Post, "Corwin Heatwole believes the home team can produce a better bird," 12 July 2019 Or, more relevantly, what is the value of their voice when it is ignored by the unswerving dictate of a heedless authoritarian behemoth? Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker, "The Disillusion and Frustration of a New Generation is Fuelling Hong Kong’s Protests," 3 July 2019 Protesters have mainly focused their anger on Lam, who had little choice but to carry through dictates issued by Beijing, where President Xi Jinping has enforced increasingly authoritarian rule. Jane Onyanga-omara, USA TODAY, "Hong Kong police clear streets as protesters move to park," 17 June 2019 Protesters have mainly focused their anger on Lam, who had little choice but to carry through dictates issued by Beijing, where President Xi Jinping has enforced increasingly authoritarian rule. Borg Wong, BostonGlobe.com, "Hong Kong police clear streets as protesters move to park," 17 June 2019 But what compels and delights me about my particular catalogue is that each book is, at heart, a text that teaches rather than dictates, that emphasizes cooking as a practice rather than as merely a means to a meal. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, "The Best Cookbooks of the Century So Far," 14 July 2019 The existing formula dictates, on the basis of enrollment, how many administrators and classroom teachers a school must have. Perry Stein, Washington Post, "D.C. continues misspending funds intended for neediest in its schools, report says," 28 June 2019

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

8 Sep 2019

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)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on dictate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dictate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dictate

Spanish Central: Translation of dictate

Nglish: Translation of dictate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dictate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dictate

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